MILOS Flies High In Dubai

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MILOS trussing was at the heart of the rigging system designed and utilised by Almoe AV Productions' Dubai office for the official launch event of the new UEA-based budget airline, flydubai.

The venue for the high-profile VIP event was the former Royal Hangar at the Expo site at Dubai International Airport, and Almoe were contracted direct by flydubai LLC as the technical services provider. In addition to rigging, this included sound, lighting and AV.

The big technical and creative challenge for the Almoe team was to transform the barn like structure of the hangar into a theatrical space for the event. The launch culminated in the reveal of a new Boeing 737-800 airliner, which necessitated flying trussing the length of the hangar, and bringing the new aircraft in underneath screens that were suspended from it. With the plane valued at $75 million, the rig above had to be super-safe!

Chief rigger Shane Manning rigged a system comprising 4 x 40 metre spans (the same length as the plane) of MILOS M400 and M520 trussing, all suspended by CM Lodestar motors - to facilitate hanging of all the required production equipment. The show rig was designed by Steve Shipman of Cleanedge Design Dubai.

One run of M400 was used to rig back-lighting for the far end of the plane. Two M520 runs were braced together and used to fly all the PA, main performance lighting and screen motors plus kabuki hardware for the reveal. This produced a total loading of approximately 3.5 tonnes on the centre of the roof, with a 7 tonne distributed load suspended in total.

Manning worked closely on the weight loadings with engineers from the Airport.

The evening before the show, the plane arrived direct from Boeing's assembly plant near Seattle, USA, and was reversed into the hangar. A nail-biting moment for all involved in the event build saw its tail clear the lower edges of the screen by 60cm - exactly as calculated!

On show day - staged at lunch time - the audience entered via a tunnel to a refreshment area, where they glimpsed the silhouetted aircraft hidden by fabric sails and two 9 metre projection screens. When the reveal sequence started, the sails dropped and the screens flew out over the plane. Photo opportunities followed before the hangar doors were opened and the plane was towed outside to prepare for takeoff.

Back inside, the hangar doors closed and the screens were reset, along with a second kabuki drop which came down to define the stage area. Guests were then treated to a live broadcast of the new plane taking off, relayed via remote camera positions on the runway.

"The whole event was a great success, and the rigging crew were very pleased with the performance and strength of the MILOS truss system," says Michael Fudge, technical director of Almoe.

Almoe first invested in MILOS trussing about a year ago, and now has stock of M400 and M520 trussing and ground support.

They chose MILOS, explains Fudge, "For the quality of the product and the great service. We like the way MILOS market themselves and think their manufacturing process is excellent. Of course, the prices are also very competitive!"

MILOS M520 QuickTruss is a high-capacity system consisting of fixed and folding formats. The folding version reduces storage and transportation volume by 70% and is quickly assembled to its load-bearing condition without any tools. MILOS M400 has been designed specifically for heavy-duty applications and is ideally suited for large productions needing long and very strong spans of trussing like the flydubai event. In addition to its strength, the system features Quick-Connectors for fast, easy assembly.

Other recent Almoe events using MILOS products include the 2009 Arab Media Forum, a new cigarette launch for Davidoff and the 2009 Hotel Show.

The launch of flydubai is expected to boost Dubai's tourism sector and help residents travel at low cost. The airline will also bolster the Emirate's plans to become a hub for international air traffic as it begins to fly to more regional destinations.

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