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.

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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

Chicago Rigging and Outdoor Structures Workshop Day 2

Posted by Flyhouse on Sep 12, 2018 12:10:12 PM

Day 2 of the The Chicago Rigging and Outdoor Structures Workshop featured Jeff Reder of Clark Reder Engineering taking everyone through outdoor structure engineering principles and standards. A lot of information but each item necessary for the safety of your structure.

Chicago Rigging and Outdoor Structures Day 2

Topics: Training

Chicago Rigging and Outdoor Structures Workshop Day 1

Posted by Flyhouse on Sep 10, 2018 3:38:23 PM

The Chicago Rigging and Outdoor Structures Workshop kicked off this morning with veteran Truss expert Elmer Veith explaining the interesting, yet complicated history of the truss industry. Thanks to the University of Illinois at Chicago Theatre and Music School for being our host.

Chicago Rigging and Outdoor Structures Workshop

Topics: Training

Chicago Rigging and Outdoor Structures Workshop | September 10-13

Posted by Flyhouse on Aug 15, 2018 4:52:36 PM

Chicago Flyhouse is partnering up with Elmer Veith and Clark Reder Engineering to hold a Chicago Rigging and Outdoor Structures Workshop September 10-13 at the School of Theatre and Music at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Join groups and individuals from all over the country to learn from some of the best in the industry about proper structure design, engineering standards, and rigging. Learn more about the class or register for it today.

  • Day One - Truss and Structure Design and Inspection Principles
  • Day Two - Outdoor Structure Engineering Principles and Standards Review
  • Day Three - Entertainment Rigging Principles
  • Day Four - Entertainment Rigging Principles

Chicago Rigging and Outdoor Structures Workshop Ad 1 final

Topics: Training