Simplest flying thing


We are doing a production in which the director desires a very simple thing to fly -- a very tiny sign (about 18" square). It can hide behind a border, and fly down a short distance just to be visible for something of (apparently) great importance in a scene. Unfortunately, of course, we have no fly system. Normally we have a very old-school method of using an array of small pulleys and rope to achieve such a thing. A young person asked me, and I don't know the answer: has technology progressed to the point that there is a simple device (perhaps a tiny remote-control winch of some kind) that can do this relatively cheaply and of course safely? The sign could even be made of foam, so a rather minimal weight rating would be ok. Thanks!


Renting to Corporate One Fixture at a Time.
A gobo on a black sign dead hung. If it’s black it will disappear in “theater world”.


Well-Known Member
Premium Member
I don't think you're going to find anything off-the-shelf that's built to this purpose and qualifies as cheap. I have built small winches for non-danger applications before; cheap in parts but certainly took more time than pulleys and lines.

Just off the dome, for something truly lightweight and fail-safe (would still be safe even if it failed) there might be something to modifying a motorized window shade.

I think the old ways are the best ways here.


Well-Known Member
Fish line only for the final "drop" something more substantial to go through the pulleys.. less likely to jump the pulley and bind when things go slack. (Surgeon, Sailor, and Theater nerd here)


Well-Known Member
Give your young person one of the "winch motors" shown below, a 12v battery, a SPDT center off switch, and some wire and tell him to go to work on making a remote-controlled winch!


Users who are viewing this thread