Chicago Flyhouse Blog

Making a Star Rise: Chi-Town Rising Returns

Posted by Flyhouse on Dec 2, 2016 9:37:51 AM

When you start a New Year’s Eve tradition on a massive scale in the third largest city in the country, you need to make a statement.

To ring in 2016, Arena Partners connected with Chicago Flyhouse and others to create Chi-Town Rising; an event and memorable night for the nearly 100,000 in attendance waiting for a New Year to begin.

How could this event rival other established events around the world? The answer is simple: feature a Chicago icon rising.

The second star of the city of Chicago flag represents the Great Chicago Fire which destroyed the city and how the city rose from the ashes.

A project of this scale requires meticulous planning to make sure the event and actual raising of the Star has no issues. From full conceptualization to full completion, Flyhouse and its event partners had approximately two and a half months to make it happen.

The New York City event lowers a ball 12-feet in diameter to usher in the New Year. Collaborators for the Chicago event knew the Star should be larger in comparison. Standing at 70 feet from top to bottom (eight stories tall on the building) and weighing over 12,000 pounds, it is safe to say there is no comparison to other events.

Chi Town Rising Star Shell

The structure of the Star is made up of 2,600 feet (or a half mile) of 2” tube and 850 feet of 1” tube. The design by Flyhouse and ONE618 also incorporates the use of four cables and roof-mounted hoists. The four custom built Flyhouse hoist motors each provide a 30-horsepower capacity and weigh 950 pounds each giving the Star a rate of ascension at three feet per second. Flyhouse also fabricated custom 16” sheaves allowing 1,400 feet of wire rope to raise the Star.

The real challenge came in the form of having this enormous structure rise 360 feet up the side of the Hyatt Regency in downtown Chicago to countdown to 2016.

To do this, Flyhouse permanently placed 86 steel plates on the building allowing for steel tracks to be connected each year. The plates provide a way to install two 360-foot steel I-beams (24,000 pounds) to the face of the building to act as a guide for the Star to rise. Another 10,000 pounds on the top of the building support the cantilever and Star. The four roof-mounted hoists have a 4,000-pound capacity each and provide redundancy and safety for the ascension; if any one of the motors were to fail, the Star would still rise.

Timing became a major factor during the installation. The most efficient method to install the steel beams and motors on the roof was to have a helicopter bring the material up so the team could secure it. The helicopter was only available one day during the set-up and with its help, the process only took 17 minutes to get the materials on the roof.

Other partners in the design process, ONE618 and CULTURE22, gave the Star LED video capabilities allowing for images of the event and promotional material to be shown on the Star to catch the attention of all onlookers below.

When the time came, the months of fabrication and hours of installation paid off. At midnight, the Star made its ascent to the top of the building bringing Chicago into 2016.

Flyhouse is doing it all over again for 2017.

Chi Town Rising Star

Want to see more of the event? Take a look back at our previous Chi-Town Rising post.

Topics: Hoist, News, Flyhouse History, Project Recaps, Chi Town Rising

Did You Know...

Posted by Flyhouse on Nov 21, 2016 11:22:50 AM
Once Halloween ends, holiday decorations begin going up everywhere you look. Shopping malls have long been known to go all out to have customers feel the holiday spirit. Water Tower Place in Chicago is no exception. Did you know...

Topics: Did You Know

Flying Effects - Did You Know

Posted by Flyhouse on Oct 26, 2016 9:00:00 AM
Pulling off successful flying effects is something we love doing. When the flying effect is shown to a national audience, we really love it. To see the final product of our participation in an AT&T commercial, click on the photo below. 
Did You Know 10.26.16 AT&T Commercial.png

Topics: Performer Flying, Hoist System, Flying Effects

Rigging Inspection FAQs

Posted by Flyhouse on Oct 14, 2016 9:15:00 AM

The safety of the equipment in your performance space is critical. If your equipment isn’t safe, you aren’t safe. Below we outline a few questions to help understand why having a rigging inspection completed is necessary to ensure the well-being of everyone involved.

Rigging Inspection FAQs

Why is a rigging inspection necessary?

Rigging inspections ensure that overhead rigging equipment is in good, working condition and is performing as intended. An inspection decreases the risk of accidents and helps extend the life of the equipment by identifying correctable issues before they become major repairs or potential accidents.

How often is it recommended to have rigging equipment inspected?

Per the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) E1.4 and newly defined ANSI E1.47 industry standards, as well as all major manufacturer’s user guides, entertainment rigging equipment must be inspected annually at a minimum. 

What is done during a rigging inspection?

Typical inspections consist of a visual, aural, and tactile testing of each rigging system component. Depending on the type of inspection being performed, rigging sub-systems may be exercised briefly, or a more thorough evaluation may be undertaken as required by the type of inspection. Line sets will be moved through their full travel while the inspector looks, listens, and feels for problems. Curtains will be inspected for dry rot and flame retardancy. Fire curtains will be tested and timed to ensure that they are code-compliant. Even non-moving equipment like catwalks and box boom lighting positions may be inspected for tight hardware and cracked welds. We follow an inspection checklist to make sure the most efficient inspection has been completed.

Rigging System Inspection of High School

How do we get someone from Flyhouse to come out and inspect our equipment?

To have Flyhouse come out to complete an inspection of your equipment, the process is simple. Fill out our online inspection form, answer some basic questions about your system, and we will follow up with you to provide a quote for the inspection. If you accept our proposed quote, we will then schedule an inspection at your facility.

What qualifications do your inspectors have?

All Flyhouse technicians are Entertainment Technician Certification Program (ETCP) certified and have years of experience inspecting a wide-range of rigging systems.

What standards does Flyhouse follow during inspections?

Chicago Flyhouse follows the guidance provided by ANSI E1.4 and E1.47, as well as manufacturer guidelines for inspection of rigging components and sub-systems. Flyhouse technicians follow an inspection checklist containing criteria developed as part of our inspection process. For most inspections, Flyhouse provides two qualified inspectors for the same price as many of our competitors that only provide one.

Scottish Rite Rigging System

Is there a cost involved?

There is a cost involved when a rigging inspection is completed and will vary based on the size of the facility. Costs may include potential lift rental, travel costs, and additional time for larger facilities. Inspections do not cover the cost of potential repairs. To receive a quote on the cost of an inspection, fill out a Flyhouse Rigging Inspection Form

Will we receive a written report of the final inspection?

When an inspection has been completed, Flyhouse will provide a written report on the findings. The detailed report will include photographic examples of any issues encountered during the inspection. The report will inform a repair technician on what the issues are and what should be done to correct them.

If it shows we need to make repairs on our system, is that something Flyhouse can do?

If your report shows repairs are necessary, Flyhouse is able to perform the repairs. Flyhouse manufacturer-trained technicians ensure rigging systems are repaired according to manufacturer requirements and industry-standard installation practices.

Flyhouse also offers a Safer Venue subscription which bundles inspection, repair, and training into one cohesive service package at an affordable price.

Rigging Inspection Form

Topics: Rigging System

30 Seconds in the Shop (Performer Flying Training)

Posted by Flyhouse on Oct 5, 2016 11:45:00 AM

Most days are normal (and busy) in the Flyhouse shop. Fabricate, rinse and repeat. On certain days, theater groups come in and test out our performer flying Ziplifts before they use them in a show. Today one of those days. Lookingglass Theater in conjunction with The Actor's Gymnasium trained on our system for an upcoming touring show in Atlanta. 



Topics: Performer Flying, Hoist System, Video, 30 Seconds in the Shop