A lifting and positioning apparatus particularly suited for use in the installation of wing-mounted airplane engines includes superposed upper and lower load-bearing support platforms that are connected to one another by means of a jack mechanism operable to raise and lower the upper platform while supported by the lower platform. The lower platform includes and is movably supportable on fluid cushion bearings. The upper platform supports a plurality of resilient elastomeric elevator bellows that are positioned and adapted to receive and support a heavy object, such as an aircraft engine, while cushioned against application of excessive lifting force. The bellows are independently inflatable and deflatable to effect raising and lowering of selected portions of the aircraft engine and thereby rotate the engine to desired angular orientations. Alternatively, the bellows may be actuated conjointly to effect uniform vertical raising or lowering of the aircraft engine. In operation, the combination of the fluid cushion bearings supporting the lower platform and the elevator bellows on the upper platform enables rotation of the aircraft engine with three degrees of freedom so as to obtain any desired angular orientation for installation. Once the desired angular orientation is obtained, the engine may be raised vertically, first by the jack mechanisms and then by actuating the elevator bellows in unison. The elastomeric bellows and the fluid cushion bearings limit the amount of force that can be applied to the engine during rotation and lifting. The aircraft engine can thus be raised and positioned with a desired angular orientation for mounting without danger of excessive forces being applied to the various attachment members that connect the engine to the airplane wing.