The above Ad will no longer appear after you Sign Up for Free!

Proper Fly Rail Commands

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by willbb123, Nov 1, 2008.

  1. willbb123

    willbb123 Active Member

    Messages:
    455
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    Iowa USA
    At the theater that I work at I do alot of the flying and loading weight. I know most of the commands but there are some I can not remember.

    I know:
    Lineset number 12 coming in. and the response is Thank You.

    When you are loading weight,
    Loading Weight on lineset 12. response is Thank you. But I cant remember what you say when you are done. I always just yell Clear, or Lineset 12 complete

    I've googled and searched the wiki but can not find anything. I would really like to it the proper way.
     
  2. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

    Messages:
    4,077
    Likes Received:
    682
    Occupation:
    Controls Technician - TAIT Towers
    Location:
    Lititz, PA
    I am not sure if there is a "proper way" other than the way that venue you are working at uses. As long as you are clear with what you are doing so that the other people around you know what is going on, that is the key.
     
    What Rigger? likes this.
  3. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

    Messages:
    9,442
    Likes Received:
    1,846
    Location:
    Saratoga Springs, NY
    I usually throw an "upstage, midstage, downstage" when bringing in things to the deck. Also, when you start loading and finish loading a given arbor, repeat back the number of bricks thrown both times, just to confirm. Other then that, just be sure that people actually here you on deck.
     
    What Rigger? likes this.
  4. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    12,616
    Likes Received:
    2,631
    Occupation:
    Theater Manager & T.D.
    Location:
    Seattle, Washington
    Yeah the bigger question is what are your safety protocols for people working below you. Do you use some sort of tie off, stick in the lines, or use a locking device like an "Uncle Buddy"? Do you require people to clear away from the rail while loading? How far away? How do you know they are clear? How do you as a crew deal with stray actors and others who don't know the protocol on the deck when loading is going on? Remember if you drop a brick from 50+ feet up and it hit's something on the way down it can bounce WAY out toward center stage. If it hit's someone on the way down there is a very small chance they will live. As the other guys said what you say doesn't matter as much as the fact that you have a well planned out clear protocol and everyone in the building follows it precisely.

    Since you are asking the question, I'm guessing you are at a high school and you don't have a real expert technician working with you. This can be VERY dangerous. When rigging goes wrong people die. The best advice I can give you is to hire a trained professional to come into your school and train you how to safely use the system. I'm also going to guess that is beyond your budget. So my second choice would be to call your local college/university and see if there is someone there you can talk to about safely using your fly system for free or next to free. I bet you can find someone who would be willing to come do it if you buy them lunch afterward. I would if you were in my area, it's a great way for me to recruit for my college's theater program.
     
  5. cdub260

    cdub260 CBMod CB Mods

    Messages:
    1,304
    Likes Received:
    151
    Location:
    Southern California
    The single most important safety precaution for any high work is to make sure that everyone in the area knows what to do in the event that someone drops something. In every venue that I've worked in, the person who drops the item is supposed to yell "heads" or "heads up". When the people down below hear either of those terms, they are supposed to immediately get as far away from high work area as they can, as quickly as they can. They are not to try to figure out what's going on until whatever is going to happen has happened.

    Regardless of what procedures your venue has in place for this type of incident, everyone working in the space needs to know what those procedures are and follow them without hesitation. In this type of incident, hesitation can get you killed.
     
  6. willbb123

    willbb123 Active Member

    Messages:
    455
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    Iowa USA
    Re: Propor Fly Rail Commands

    Thanks for you responses.
    I am actually in college, and I have been trained, I just forgot some of the commands. When we are loading weight we only have necessary theater staff on stage (no actors, all staff is trained). The guy on the fly rail locks the rope and walks to the end past the rail, sometimes inside a door. I know they are clear cause they yell clear or Ill make sure they are if they are. We normally do all the loading before actors arrive, but there actors they have to stay in the house or in the dressing rooms.

     
  7. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

    Messages:
    4,445
    Likes Received:
    2,845
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV, USA
    To elaborate:

    During loading/unloading, I've found it useful to repeat back the instructions to the other party:

    Flyman: "Load 450 pounds on lineset 12."
    Loader: (before starting) "Loading 450 pounds on lineset 12."
    Loader: (when complete, spreader plates restored, locking collars tightened, and all personnel clear) "450 pounds on lineset 12. Complete."
    Flyman: "Thank you. Testing lineset 12."

    It's a long distance (usually) from the loading bridge to the lockrail, and miscommunication is frequently the cause of accidents.

    (Some houses work only with number of bricks, and half-bricks, as a unit of measurement, which puts the onus of calculating weights on the Master Flyman. Others, especially road-houses with a traveling crew who have no idea how much your bricks weigh, will use pounds. Either is acceptable, depending on circumstance.)
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2008
    RickR likes this.
  8. bdkdesigns

    bdkdesigns Active Member Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    455
    Likes Received:
    36
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    As far as calls go, we use Derek's method. The only difference is that we use the brick count, which the ME is responsible for calculating.

    As far as how far away people have to be before the loader gets the clear to load weight, we have to be past the proscenium arch. We are lucky to have wide wing space so it is far enough away. For instance, on the opposite side of the stage, we have the Montana Rep national tour set up in the wing, which gets built over the summer and goes into tech right after Christmas for a Spring Tour.
     
  9. Sayen

    Sayen Active Member

    Messages:
    638
    Likes Received:
    39
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    I would advise against "heads up." That tends to encourage people to do just that - look up. I brought rock climbing terms into my theater. When something falls, announce the item. Dropping a rope off a bridge, yell "rope!" and the crew below should know to look down or move. My students use "object!" if they drop a frame or other hard object - so people on the floor look down and move away. Keep the money maker pointed at the floor, as they say.

    When bringing in a lineset, the response of "Thank you!" should imply that whoever said Thank You is spotting you onstage, and watching for collisions or other people entering the space - since the fly person cannot always see the entire stage.

    After a fly, I usually call out, "Fly complete!"
     
  10. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

    Messages:
    4,445
    Likes Received:
    2,845
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV, USA
    For better or worse, "heads" is a universal theatrical term. Yelling "weight" if a pig is dropped could have dire consequences.:(

    Of course, the first rule should be DON'T DROP ANYTHING! when working at height.
     
  11. Sayen

    Sayen Active Member

    Messages:
    638
    Likes Received:
    39
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    Right - along that note, especially with the uninitiated, empty their pockets and tie tools to their bodies before they go up. Something like a stage weight should never fall, period. When I taught in a facility with a counterweight system we used the call, "Moving Weight - Clear the Floor, clear the Rail!" to move people away from the fall zone after securing the lineset. Slowed the labor down, but a falling weight and the risk of injury or death is unacceptable. "Run" is also a valid call in an emergency. It all depends on how the crew is trained and how organized their leader is.

    Yelling Heads Up is probably standard across every industry, but people almost always look up - again, especially the uninitiated such as actors or rental customers. Announcing that a rope is coming down, or hollering run, gets a much more specific response. As a training facility, I teach my crew why Heads Up has problems, right along with the importance of not dropping anything, ever. They'll know the term if they go somewhere else, and hopefully remain safer in my facility.
     
  12. propmonkey

    propmonkey Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    990
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Beloit/Milwaukee, WI
    at my college when the response of thank you is given it is given as "thank you (repeat what they are responding to)" ie "1st electric coming in!" "thank you 1st electric" i find this good because then you know they hear and understood what warning you gave.

    a questions: where did the phrase "heads-up" come from?
     
  13. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

    Messages:
    4,077
    Likes Received:
    682
    Occupation:
    Controls Technician - TAIT Towers
    Location:
    Lititz, PA
    I actually have found some very interesting things thinking about this discussion. When I was in school, if we were throwing weight the procedure was to clear the deck past cetnerline to the opposite side of the theatre from the fly rail. This of course leads to significant delays in working. My professors told us that it was mostly a liability concern for the college and that we wouldn't find many working theatres that follow the same practice as time is money.

    After leaving school I found this to be mostly true. As an ME at a regional theatre, it often takes my crew 15-20 minutes to throw weight for an LX hang. I can't spare that time and have people only work on half the stage. However, the crew knows that if the loaders were to yell "heads" or anything else to the effect of having dropped bricks (which thankfully has never happened on my watch - knock on wood) then they need to get out of the way ASAP.

    Also, for throwing weight, I generate all the weights for positions, Lightwright is a big help for this, but always end up slightly off (for me anyway). I generate a printed report that I can send up with the loaders so that for the initial loading we don't have to yell to communicate, it helps to lower the chances for miscommunication. After the initial loading we test weights and add or subtract as needed.

    In terms of calls that we use:
    • "Lineset X coming in" or "Lineset X going out"
    • "Loading Weight"
    • "Weight/Loading Complete"
    • "Rope!" or "Line In" When dropping rope
    • "Instrument in" when lowering units on a line
    • "Cable in" when lowering bunches of cable
    • "Genie in" when coming down in a lift
    • "X Scenery moving" when moving large set pieces or automation
     
  14. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

    Messages:
    9,442
    Likes Received:
    1,846
    Location:
    Saratoga Springs, NY
    I have been in a theatre twice when a brick has been dropped. Both times the person was not able to get heads out fast enough for anyone to actually react. Usually it happens at strike when pipes are being dumped. The person usually can not figure out what actually happened enough to clearly yell what is going on. I would keep this in mind because you will not have time to properly react in a given situation. Due to this, it is imperative that you clearly know where to be when weight is being loaded. The guy who dropped a weight at the place I was at over the summer was extremly well trained and had thrown weight all summer without incident. It does happen. Don't let yourself be under it when it does. Both times I have seen it was in a double purchase house so the weight hit the fly rail and stopped, because they were trapped in by the rail.

    WEIGHTS DO FALL. PLAN FOR IT.
     
  15. waynehoskins

    waynehoskins Active Member

    Messages:
    782
    Likes Received:
    49
    Location:
    Arlington, TX
    That all pretty much matches what we did in college. Any time I had to go up to either the loading bridge or the grid, I made double sure to remove anything from me that could fall.

    We never had really accurate measurements on now much weight to remove, at least from what I remember. Pipe weight was clearly marked, though, so when we were stripping a pipe it was obvious where to stop; and we knew that a pair of legs weighed so-many bricks, however many it was, which I think was 32 pounds per brick.

    The deck below our flyrail platform (which was elevated about 7 feet) was a common thoroughfare between scene shop, costume shop, dressing rooms, audience chamber, and pretty much anywhere else stage-right. Because of that, we were really careful to not have people walk across that side when throwing weight (and this was in theatre practicum, which all theatre majors took, so we had actors and costumers and all around).

    Clear the deck, clear the rail (which for the rail usually consisted of walking to either the upstage or downstage edge of the platform). Loading on lineset so-and-so. Lineset so-and-so clear. Testing weight on so-and-so.

    Sure, it takes time, but it's sure better than not having a loading bridge .. like the high school I light at. Hang a few lights, muscle it out, throw a brick on there, muscle it in, hang a few more lights, reweight it, add cable, throw another brick or half on there.
     
  16. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    12,616
    Likes Received:
    2,631
    Occupation:
    Theater Manager & T.D.
    Location:
    Seattle, Washington
    Agree with Footer, it doesn't matter what you yell as it's going to hit the ground before you finish saying it. Unless you manage to say it before you drop it :confused:

    As for what to do in an emergency, this is what I was taught long ago by a wise old rigger:
    1) Analyze which side of the emergency you are on in the upstage/downstage direction and stay on it.
    2) Run all the way upstage or all the way downstage, whichever is closer... If you happen to be upstage of the emergency do not run downstage to try to reach the safety of the proscenium! You are safer against the upstage wall than crossing directly under the hazard.
    3) Never run to stage left or stage right first. When things fall they will tend to fall out toward the opposite side of the stage, so it's safer to move up or down first.
    4) Once against the upstage wall evaluate your escape routes. Work your way in the opposite direction of the accident if you think it looks safe to do so. If there is any question about the safety of proceeding, stay where you are against the upstage wall.
    5) If you are downstage work your way out in the house if possible.
    6) Never go back on stage until a trained person tells you it's safe to return.

    If things start falling or dropping they are more likely to continue to bounce, drop, crash between the stage left to stage right directions. You are obviously much safer if you can get beyond the proscenium wall, but it's not worth the risk running under a potential hazard to get there. If you are upstage it's much safer to get against the wall falling things are more likely to hit the wall and bounce downstage than they are to fall just inches from the wall and hit you.

    The best prevention is proper planning... paranoia is your friend! In some theaters the risk of working with crew on the deck below is acceptable and impossible to avoid. In educational theater it IS NEVER ACCEPTABLE. If there is time to learn there is time to learn safely. In professional world when it is decided that the deck crew must keep working while loading is going on there are some important factors at work. The people loading have years of experience doing it unlike students. The people loading are probably stronger than students. The people working may be more mature and attentive than students. When you add those up, the risk is less in the professional world than it is in educational theater.

    No matter where you are, when someone calls out that things are moving or being loaded stop and think about where you are and where you want to be if things go bad. If you can, get yourself to that place just in case. Also be aware of those around you. Did everyone here the call? Do you see someone continuing to work in a place you think is unwise? Do you see actors or new people who may not know what they should be doing? Take leadership and help others make safe choices.
     
  17. Hughesie

    Hughesie Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,170
    Likes Received:
    40
    Occupation:
    Freelance Lighting Programmer/grandMA Trainer
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    At the school i used to go to we used a simple couple of commands

    "Heads on stage line *number) flying in/out
    then someone on the ground would check to make sure no one was there and yell out clear.

    When reweighting had to be done the syntax of commands were as follows

    "clear under the fly floor reweighting"
    and the same deck crew command of "clear under the fly floor" was repeated back.

    that is how we always did it, but like the others said it depends on your venue, and also its setup. (for example our fly floor (where you operate the system from) is above stage level) so communication was vitally important.
     
  18. elite1trek

    elite1trek Active Member

    Messages:
    133
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Baltimore MD
    Where I work-

    In or Out:

    Lineset 14 coming in.

    or when something is hung on it

    Lineset 8, 2nd electric, coming in.

    When loading, it is customary for the loader to stick the lineset himself then go up to the loading gallery.

    Before loading:

    Loading Lineset 23, am I safe to load?

    response is:

    Yes, you are safe to load.
    or
    No, Do Not Load. followed by an explanation.

    another way we do it is:

    Loading, Clear the Rails.

    response is:

    Rails Clear, Proceed.
    or
    No, Do Not Load.

    I have never (thank God) had a runaway, but I saw one in progress from the house once. I was a student, and when I heard that pipe hit the grid, and then the arbor hitting the stage floor, I never looked at flyrail safety the same way again. From what I understand, they keep that arbor around, just to show people how important fly rail safety is. The moral of the story is:

    Follow the rules, and don't do rigging without a professional there. When I saw this runaway, these were students rigging without a professor there to supervise.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2008
  19. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

    Messages:
    12,616
    Likes Received:
    2,631
    Occupation:
    Theater Manager & T.D.
    Location:
    Seattle, Washington
    Oh I really like the "am I safe to load". It hopefully helps the loader think about the fact that it may not be safe for them to continue. It's easy to get wrapped up in your work (and the lifting that is ahead) and not think about the fact that there are others below counting on you to do your job safely.
     
  20. Sayen

    Sayen Active Member

    Messages:
    638
    Likes Received:
    39
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    I was just thinking the same thing - next time I'm training somewhere with a counterweight system I'll have to work that into the drills.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice