Chicago Flyhouse Blog

Flyhouse Training, Online and On-Demand

Posted by Flyhouse on Jun 18, 2020 2:30:00 PM

So often this year, we have felt like we’re building the plane as we fly. But building and solving challenges—with a focus on safety—is what we do best.

Clayton Center for the Arts approached us last fall about inspection and training on site in Maryville, TN. The 123,038 sq ft Center, which includes a 1,200 seat proscenium theatre and a 250 seat recital hall on the campus of Maryville College, supports college arts programs, community arts organizations, and touring shows.

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As often happens, the venue struggled to find time in their schedule to support such work. But by early 2020, the project was officially scheduled for June.

By mid March, much of the current Flyhouse training work had been postponed. The Clayton Center project, still a few months away, remained tentatively on schedule.

As both the level of risk and the applicable state orders evolved, we moved forward with a careful trip to the Maryville to conduct the inspection. We also used our time onsite to prepare for and design custom online training specifically for the Clayton Center.

While much of our content is theoretical in nature and can be easily adapted for online presentation, one of the real benefits of in-person training is hands-on demonstrations. The Clayton Center has a large stage with 36 line sets, and they hired Flyhouse to demonstrate best practices for loading, unloading and managing weight when installing challenging scenery. 

Flyhouse tapped one of our Associate Trainers to do just that. Having just been onsite at the Center, he was able to set up remote training from his base at Ohio Northern University, and effectively demonstrate the principles of safely using the Center’s counterweight system to the remote audience. With simple modifications and creative problem solving, we were able to meet the needs of the client while still keeping everyone involved safe. 


The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged us to have to think quickly, and has also provided us an opportunity to help the industry—making a fast transition to online training. Within a week of Illinois restrictions in place, we began offering free online training nearly every weekday. So far, we have developed nine free courses on common rigging topics. 

We soon realized that we had more to offer. Our Premium classes explore topics with greater focus and depth, and a wider pool of trainers, at the lowest possible cost. With the popularity and success of the Flyhouse Online Training program, we continue to develop new courses—particularly those not commonly offered around the industry.

While fall protection training is widely available, few sessions discuss how to set up an institutional program to manage fall protection in your venue. We filled the void by creating a course specifically on the topic. Many riggers note how rare good automation training is across the industry, so we have developed a whole track of automation classes. Building a new venue or renovating an old one can be a complex process. Most only go through it once or twice in their careers, with no real understanding of the process as a whole. We have designed a class that walks participants through every stage of process.

We strive to be responsive to which topics offer the most value to out-of-work members of our industry, helping them build skills and improve marketable talents so that when works returns, they will be ready.

ONLINE TRAINING BY THE NUMBERS:

• 65 Sessions
   - 47 Free
   - 18 Premium
• 8,623 Person Hours of Training
   - 7,244 Free
• 4,142 Attendees
• 814 ETCP Credits to 81 Certified Riggers
• 38 countries
• 45 US states
• 6 Canadian provinces
• members of 50 IATSE locals

Our audience covers riggers from every sector of the entertainment industry—from regional theaters to universities, vendors to high schools. We have trained aerialists, engineers, stagehands, carpenters, electricians, audio and video technicians, safety professionals, and students.

We are incredibly proud of what we have offered so far, and we look forward to continuing to support our industry. That’s how we fly.

Topics: News, Training, Flyhouse Projects

Adapting Our Services, On The Fly

Posted by Flyhouse on Apr 24, 2020 1:34:02 PM

Like everyone, The Chicago Flyhouse Inc., has adapted to changes in operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. While construction—including rigging work—continues in many parts of the country, other projects, productions, cruise lines, etc., have been put on hold. We are continuing work that can be done; in particular, closed venues offer a great opportunity for inspections, repairs and maintenance—while following all current recommended safety guidelines.

“A generous and genius idea.”
– Freelance Technician

In an effort to support our industry during this unique time, Flyhouse quickly shifted our existing Training into an entirely new, online program. Over a few short weeks, our trainers have created curriculum for 6 different classes, with more in the works. And most classes are being offered for free. That’s how we fly.

Initially, we started with smaller, limited class sizes. We quickly found that—unlike in-person training—the number of students doesn’t impact the quality of the experience. Given that, we are working hard to serve the overwhelming interest to these sessions. Beginning next week, we are also offering new Premium sessions for a nominal fee.

“These classes really help fill in the gaps between formal education and road experience.”
- Acrobatic Rigger and Freelance Technician

In the past three weeks, we have provided 2,556 person hours of training—across all skill and experience levels. Participants have come from 42 US states, 4 Canadian provinces, and 17 other countries—Czech Republic, Dubai, Finland, Germany, India, Israel, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Paraguay, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

Flyhouse_TrainingbyParticipant-1

Participating organizations include 29 IATSE locals and:

Universities
Duke University
Indiana University
Florida State University
University of North Carolina School of the Arts 
Georgetown University
Northwestern University

Producing Theaters

Arena Stage (Washington DC)
American Repertory Theater (Boston)
McCarter Theatre (Princeton, NJ)
The Kennedy Center (Washington DC)
Alberta Ballet (Calgary, Canada)
Indiana Repertory Theatre (Indianapolis)

Presenting Houses
Royal Albert Hall (London, UK)
The Tennessee Performing Arts Center (Nashville)
Mesa Arts Center (Phoenix metro area)
AT&T Performing Arts Center (Dallas)

Vendors
Gallagher Staging
Foy Inventerprises Inc.
Rhino Staging
PSAV
Mountain Productions

Producers
Cirque du Soleil
Disney
NETworks

 

“Massive gratitude to Chicago Flyhouse for giving us all something positive and productive to do in this downtime.”  
- Flyhouse Training Participant

At the same time, we are also adding to our existing Flyhouse Films YouTube channel. We currently offer 37 videos across six playlist topics in our library, and we’re adding more new videos each month.

The focus at Flyhouse is always on safety. And for many in the rigging industry, the safest thing to do right now is to stay home. And train online with Flyhouse.

Topics: News, Video, Training, Flyhouse Projects

No Sweat for Flyhouse

Posted by Flyhouse on Aug 8, 2019 1:54:28 PM

15 Days, Contract to Completion

Photo Jul 21, 9 01 39 PM

Some might think that a seven day lead-time and eight day installation—during an NYC heatwave—for a massive stadium project is a problem. But when Flyhouse was tapped by Far Right Productions to help bring the wildly successful Fortnite World Cup Tournament to life, of course we said yes. For us, it's just another chance at what we do best.

Our experienced crew of rope access techs and riggers installed 68,000 feet of light blocking and sound absorbing fabrics at USTA Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing, NY. The fabric, custom sewn by Rose Brands Inc, had to be temporarily installed across the bottom of the roof structure, 185 feet in the air. All the fabric panels were placed carefully and without disruption to the several hundred other rigging points also being installed for the audio and visual portion of the show—keeping the event on schedule. Flyhouse enhanced the environment of the stadium so the light and acoustics were perfectly in sync for this live, televised event. 

Arthur Ashe Stadium, July 2019BY THE NUMBERS 
10,000 ft of tension wire 
12,000 ft of horizontal lifeline 
5,000 snap hooks 
300 steel carabiners 
300 support straps 
23,000+ seats at Arthur Ashe Stadium, filled to capacity all weekend 
100 solo tournament players on stage
16-year-old Fortnite World Cup champion 
$3,000,000 Grand Prize 


It was another unique and challenging project that we got accomplished and an example of why Flyhouse is a leader in the sound absorption and light reduction market. But we got it done, no sweat no problem. Challenge us with your impossible projects … we’re ready to play!

 

Topics: News, Arenas, Flyhouse Projects

Rigging Terms: Planner's Pocket Dictionary

Posted by Flyhouse on Oct 25, 2018 1:59:19 PM

Reflected ground plan? Allowable load? Fly? Any of these sound familiar to you? If you are a rigger, they are commonly used terms. If you are an event planner, you probably are looking them up right now. Well, you don't have to go far because we can help you out.

Flyhouse appeared inside a recent edition of the Illinois Meetings + Events magazine to fill in the definitions of commonly used rigging terms.

Flyhouse Rigging Terms

Topics: News, Theatrical Rigging, Rigging Facts

Flyhouse Presents at the New World Rigging Symposium

Posted by Flyhouse on Mar 13, 2018 2:57:52 PM

The New World Rigging Symposium, presented by ESTA and USITT, is a two-day event allowing riggers of all levels to come together and help further the industry with new ideas and discussions.

As part of the 10 sessions being held, Flyhouse’s Director of New Product Development, Eric Rouse, participated in Tuesday’s chain hoist discussion called, “Damn it, Jim. I’m a Chain Hoist, Not a Winch.”

“We are discussing chain hoists and how they are sometimes used by people the same way you would use a cable winch,” said Rouse. “Most of the time, this is not appropriate due to the fact that a winch typically has bells and whistles (safety features) that a chain hoist does not have.”

Eric’s involvement at the first-ever U.S. held symposium is no surprise due to his reputation as a trainer and a rigger who has a substantial crossover in the different areas of rigging.

The New World Rigging Symposium is being held in conjunction with the annual USITT Conference and Stage Expo.

Topics: News, Flyhouse Team