About the thread Flying without all the rigging

dvsDave

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Sorry folks,

Had to close and hid the topic for liability reasons. Basically, the topic broached the subject of how to fly people in the air "on the cheap" (i.e. without proper equipment) The techniques discussed were interesting and innovative, but ultimately unsafe. I've copied below wolf's response to the topic. It's informative and the only safe advice that will be presented on this site when it comes to flying people.

wolf825 said:
Oh my...what a topic... :) The discussion should be about the understandings of flying folks--not "how can I get around this". I have to explain this to professors who teach theater who also just don't "get it" why they cannot throw a student around a stage on a wire and why they have to pay for the extra $$ to hire Foy or someone outside... I love the excuse they always toss back--"well the student doesn't wiegh much"... What a person weighs has little to do with the proper balancing and safe and secure elevation of a person so they, and the persons lifting them, can maintain CONSTANT control..

So let me be blunt about a few things raised..

-Fly Systems---such as single or double purchase.... NOT rated for flying of humans. Fly systems have a safety ratio range of 3:1 which is fine for Equipment/sets and so forth... To fly a PERSON you must use equipment that has a 10:1 safety margin. and by the way--climbing harnesses are NOT the same as lift harnesses..more on that later...

2) Genie lift--three words. Center of Gravity. Does not matter the outriggers are extended...the moment you change the lifts center of gravity you toss all that out the window. ALL the weight in A genie tends to be behind the bucket and is balanced for the weight inside the bucket. When you extend beyond the bucket you toss off the balance--which already is balanced for one person IN the bucket as its extends--as it extends that center changes and is built Into the genie lift specifications.. Go outside the bucket--which puts more force on the front outriggers then designed...which CAN lead to failure. Lifts are designed to lift (push up) what is IN the bucket...and you could just as easily put the actor IN the bucket and do the same lift masking it with drapes, fog and lighting. Additionally--the Genie is designed to lift what is in the bucket only..not PULL from under it or outside it... You extend the RISK and safety concerns grow when you use gear that is not designed for what is being used for.

3) Harnesses... SOME climbing gear can transpose to Lifting.. But--Harnesses tend to NOT be one of those. Harnesses are meant to HOLD a person....not lift them or endure the shifts (and some like bosens chairs are designed to be sit harnesses and not shock rated for any sudden shift in the lift). A human beings Center of gravity is located at the rear Hip. If you ever see Dancers LIFT a person--they don't lift them from their chests--they for the best lifts lift at the waist. Lifting from the chest, underarms, or from only one point in the front at the waist throw the actor into unbalance..and can cause extreme body damage or pain if its done improperly. Lift harnesses are not designed to be slipped out of if a person twists in the wrong direction--they are very tight and hold at key places on a body, and use webbing and material properly rated for the job to maintain the balance of the person being lifted. They are not always comfortable..but they work and work safely. Climbing Harnesses or Fall protection harnesses are usually designed for folks who may FALL....to hold them in place and take the shock weight--not for movement of major degree or allow for some free movement that an actor may need to do.

Turss/chainmotors/aircraft cable... ALL those items must be made and checked for PROPER use and installation and by persons who are responsible and know how to make them for the purpose intended. I saw a Trapeeze once a technician tossed together and used Crosby's on FAIL and drop the actor in mid show..the actor broke their arm and cheekbone. Crosbys are not rated hardware..and they will fail...use ONLY rated and SAFE hardware designed for the intended use. Don't try to jury-rig pieces and parts... you do NOT want to live with the guilt of being ignorant if someone gets hurt. Don't csare how many times you may have slipped by--it will catch up to you.

Lastly, INSURANCE...try to tell your insurance company you are flying a person and they will laugh at you and tell you NO. NO facility, school or theater will assume the liability risks for putting a student or person into a home-made rig. The legal and financial liabilities and DANGER for such reckless acts are no different then the idiot who used 12' Gerbs effects at the Station in a 9' ceiling for Great White and burned the place down.

The RIGGING used by companies like Foy in Flying humans is there for a REASON. Its not to raise your costs or be a pain or to challenge you to "try it"--its there to ensure constant control and proper safe margins for the actor and those around them. Those guys who fly people have done it countless times, and know the physics involved and the risk factors to consider. Let them do their jobs...if it was easy and anyone could do it, then they would not be in business.

PLEASE...do not risk another persons life or injuries for an effect if you canot do it safely. I CANNOT streess this any more. You are NOT invincible--you are not the "MacGyvers" of the Theater world--as technicians you are there to ensure a job is done and done right and done SAFELY for all in attendance and on stage--or its not done at all.
-w
 

What Rigger?

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I cannot agree with Dave more! After 17 years in the business, and three years of doing nothing but flying fx, I can tell you this: Try to do it yourself and it's not a matter of IF someone will die, but WHEN someone will die. Personally, I have "liberated" harnesses purchased by organizations building home-made flying systems simply to remove the chance of injury/death. You tell me, what is the point of buying a harness from Amspec if you're going to build a janky "I think it's safe" flying system.

If you can't pay for us, the pro's, who know the physics behind it- DON'T DO IT!
 

jgarrett1967

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I was a ballerina for years 8 of which were professional. I was dropped not by a fly rig but by a male dancer. It pulled every ACL, ligament, etc. from around the knee and I have reconstruction. I also performed as Peter in Peter Pan in 9th grade and we used a pro company.
Here's my question, I'm now a theatre teacher/director for a middle school and I want to do Peter Pan in the upcoming year. Not sure how much money we are talking about, I'd love to know a ball park considering we'd be working in a gym.
The other scenario is suggestions for how to have people appear as if they are flying when they are not. Any ideas?
Thanks for the Great Advice...
Lack of proper procedures and a relentless pursuit of safety - you are looking a a career ender...
 

ruinexplorer

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Here's my question, I'm now a theatre teacher/director for a middle school and I want to do Peter Pan in the upcoming year. Not sure how much money we are talking about, I'd love to know a ball park considering we'd be working in a gym.
The other scenario is suggestions for how to have people appear as if they are flying when they are not. Any ideas?
Thanks for the Great Advice...

I believe that there have been several discussions on this, including flying carpets, that may still be active. Biggest thing is, as you can attest, it doesn't take much of a fall for serious damage to occur. So if you run across threads talking about lifting besides rigging, you easily run into similar safety situations to avoid.

The most common responses will involve: hire the professionals (don't know what your budget is, but this is probably the reason many schools foolishly decide that they can do it themselves), use projections, put them on a prop and flood the floor with low lying fog.

The question is, what is your audience expecting? Since you are performing in a gym, you are already expecting your audience to have a greater suspension of disbelief. They will not be expecting Broadway the moment they walk in, so creating the effect in ways other than spending money on an actual flying rig will be acceptable to them. If you have access to projections, motion loops can be affordable.

Remember, your audience will be forgiving, your budget may not.
 

cprted

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Just to throw my 2 cents in: Having recertified my Industrial First Aid last week, the topic of fall protection harnesses was brought up in conversation with the instructor over the lunch break (everyone else on the course had real jobs like oil rigs and logging and such). Since fall harnesses were mentioned here, I'll share an interesting little tidbit I learned. Depending on the type, some harnesses when they are supporting the weight of a body, cut off blood flow in several major arteries. So while the harness may save your life from the fall, they'll turn around and kill you if somebody doesn't come get you down within 14 minutes.

But one example of why things should only be used for their intended purpose.
 

What Rigger?

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cprted, you are speaking about what is known as "suspension trauma" and it is a doozy. Folks, that's NOT hype when he says you can be dead in 14 minutes. You can.

Most common scenario, in terms of fall protection is when you are knocked out/immobilized as a result of a fall. You can't move your legs and their muscles. Gravity takes over, your blood can't leave your legs to be cleaned of waste/toxins by your circulatory system and that now toxic blood slowly permeates your system and you die. The scary thing is that many FD's/EMT's/Paramedics DON'T know how to get you down, and DON'T know the proper procedure for handling suspension trauma- so even the lifesavers may not always be able to save your life in this instance. This is one of the reasons I'm so glad that : 1. I have a riggers harness. 2. I work with guys who are trained to rescue me, and I them.

With regards to flying harnesses: THE SAME RULES APPLY! As I once told a high school teacher in Indiana when I rigged their JC Superstar flying system: NO! You can't have Jesus (Hay-soos) up in the air for 15 minutes BEFORE you descend him to the stage. NOOOO!

Generally speaking, any type of harness is built for speed, no comfort. But it sure beats "Concrete toxicity" (aka: Going SPLAT!)
 

gafftaper

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Here's my question, I'm now a theatre teacher/director for a middle school and I want to do Peter Pan in the upcoming year. Not sure how much money we are talking about, I'd love to know a ball park considering we'd be working in a gym.
I've been told that a show starts around $5k. The best thing to do would be to contact Flying by Foy, ZFX, and Hall Associates and get a price quote. They do Peter Pan ALL THE TIME and know exactly what they are doing. They should be able to give you a ball park quote fairly quickly.

Not to long ago there was a good thread titled something like flying without really flying. Do some searching and you'll find a pretty interesting discussion of someone doing Charlie in the Chocolate factory who wanted to create the look of flying without actually doing it.

But it sure beats "Concrete toxicity"
:) Nice one Dude!
 

ruinexplorer

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The scary thing is that many FD's/EMT's/Paramedics DON'T know how to get you down, and DON'T know the proper procedure for handling suspension trauma- so even the lifesavers may not always be able to save your life in this instance. With regards to flying harnesses:
This is why every fall arrest and flying system needs to plan for rescue! Like "What Rigger?", I work in a venue where we don't work in areas where fall protection is required unless there is someone present who can rescue us in case of a fall, but I have worked in venues where the rescue plan was "dial 911" (I was real careful working there).

Things that the professional companies already have in place: How to rescue the performer in the event of a power failure (winch driven system). How to quickly and safely get a performer down in case of emergency (i.e. fire). Backup system in case main system fails. Many more things that we who don't do it haven't even thought about.
 

gafftaper

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In the rigging class I took last year. The Prof. talked about planning for rescue at the University. He went down to the local fire station and asked them to come visit the theater to discuss how they would rescue someone in the theater (fall related or not). After the meeting, the fire department was so excited they decided to come back and do some practice rescue missions pulling "injured" people from the FOH catwalk and grid.

This sounds like a really good idea to me for anyone working in a crazy old theater with less than easy/safe access.

Like "What Rigger?", I work in a venue where we don't work in areas where fall protection is required unless there is someone present who can rescue us in case of a fall...
Or to be more precise... YOU are not allowed to work in an area where fall protection is required, while "What Rigger?" is on a break. ;)
 
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MPowers

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Personally, I like ZFX better then Foy.
As Long as we're mentioning flying companies, take a look at D2 Flying Effects D2 Flying Effects - Welcome! Owner/founder/pres. Dr. Delbert Hall has been flying people professionally for about 30 years and was the original founder of Hall Associates, another flying company.

FWIW. I worked for Foy in the late 60's, so I "know how" to fly people. Would I try to do it today without using one of the companies out there? Not on your life. Because I have a pretty good background in rigging doesn't mean I have the ongoing experience in that particular area. I've been driving for 50 years, does that make me a race car driver???

Can a person or organization fly someone without killing them, well yes, maybe 75% of the time. Can they fly someone with out serious injury, maybe 50% of the time, can they do it with out some injury, accident or mishap, maybe 5% of the time (look at all the you tube videos of stage flying mishaps). So, are you willing to risk you child on those percentages? I'm not.
 

gafftapegreenia

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As we are creeping up on the "holiday season", I would keep an eye out to see if we have any deaths this year resulting from amateur flying affects in pageant plays.
 

mstaylor

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As one of my jobs in my arena, I had to devise the rescue plan for my building. I have trained all my lead guys in the system in case I am the guy needing rescue or I am not in the air. I have been in the situation where we needed to pull a guy off the steel on an outdoor event. He was not hanging or in a life threatening situation but unable to climb down. Fire Dept gets there and the first question was how did I want to bring him down. Don't expect the FD to automaticly to know how to rescue a person.
 

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As one of my jobs in my arena, I had to devise the rescue plan for my building. I have trained all my lead guys in the system in case I am the guy needing rescue or I am not in the air. I have been in the situation where we needed to pull a guy off the steel on an outdoor event. He was not hanging or in a life threatening situation but unable to climb down. Fire Dept gets there and the first question was how did I want to bring him down. Don't expect the FD to automaticly to know how to rescue a person.
Legally, you can not use any type of fall arrest without a rescue plan. So, you might be safe being clipped off, double lanyards, 5000# points, all that fun stuff. However, if you get an OSHA inspection and your answer to get someone down is "call the fire dept.", your going to get fined. Sitting in a harness for an extended period of time can be fatal.
 

mstaylor

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Oh, I agree 100%. In the case of the outdoor event I could have brought him down myself but since it wasn't life threatening and he wasn't hanging I was going to let the FD do what they were trained to do. At my direction they brought in a ladder truck, placed the guy in a Stokes basket and belayed him in using the ladder truck as a pick point. I had everything I needed except a basket and I could have done it without it.
 

CrisCole

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As we are creeping up on the "holiday season", I would keep an eye out to see if we have any deaths this year resulting from amateur flying affects in pageant plays.

Yeah, I really HATE that. Five years ago, a 'Jesus' at a local church was killed. They thought it'd be a neat effect if he 'flew', so they used steel cable and a pulley. 'Jesus' on one end, two guys on the other.

It was a neat effect, until he fell, and you heard an audible crack and the angles started running, screaming, and crying.

Grrr....