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McLaren Engineering Brings Cirque Magic to Life at Creative City Project in Orlando, FL

McLaren works with world-famous entertainment company to ensure safety of high-flying Bamboo Aerial Act performers and street crowds during Creative City Project in Orlando, FL. Andrew Habel, McLaren’s Florida Regional Director, answered a few questions about Cirque du Soleil La Nouba’s Bamboo Aerial Act and how they worked their magic to bring it to the streets of Downtown Orlando at Creative City Project.

Q How do you prepare for outdoor performance when things like weather and other conditions can affect performance?

A A High Wind Action Plan (HWAP) and Operations Management Plan (OMP) are created for the event which outlines responsible production personnel and actions to be taken in the event of inclement weather. These plans outline actions to be taken by production personnel when winds are forecast or measured to meet or exceed threshold wind speeds at various levels. An anemometer is used onsite and the weather is monitored by production personnel real-time with a local commercial or governmental weather service. If inclement weather is forecast, the HWAP and OMP are followed to ensure the safety of the performers and of the audience.

Q How many tests are done to ensure the safety of the performers?

A There is no set standard for this. As many test setups as required would be conducted to ensure that everything would be safe.

Q How are the setup and take down processes? About how long does it take for each?

A For this event a crane with a 63 foot boom was used for the outdoor performance. A forklift with a custom steel winch chassis attached to the forklift’s forks served as an anchorage point for the winch. Two steel wire rope cables traveled from the winch up to two sheaves that were individually attached to slings around the crane’s boom. These steel wire rope cables traveled over the sheaves and down to attachment points on the hanger bar for the act. The ladder was suspended from the hanger bar. For the performance, the forklift mounted winch raised and lowered the hanger bar and ladder via the steel wire rope cables. The performers climb onto the ladder at ground level, are raised for the performance, perform, and are then lowered back to ground level. Both setup and take down for this event each took approximately two hours.

Q Are there any emergency procedures put in place in case something goes wrong, a light goes out, ladder malfunctions, etc? What are those?

A Backup equipment is on hand for some items but not for everything. A typical action in the event of a serious equipment problem would be to postpone or cancel the act. The safety of the performers is of the utmost importance.

Q What was it like working with the crane? What were the challenges associated with it?

A The challenge of working with cranes in general is understanding and staying within their capabilities and limitations. The loads for this act were light compared to the load ratings for which this crane was capable, so there was not a big issue with the crane for this event.