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Sun 19 Jul 2009 04:00 AM

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Flying high

The recent gala launch of budget airline flydubai showcased a high-flying MILOS rigging system deployed by Dubai-based production specialist Almoe Productions.

Flying high
Almoe AV Productions supplied MILOS trussing to the launch event.
Flying high
The trussing was installed within a hangar at Dubai Int. Airport.
Flying high
Clean Edge Dubai’s Steve Shipman.
Flying high
Flydubai chairman HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum at the launch.

The recent gala launch of budget airline flydubai showcased a high-flying MILOS rigging system deployed by Dubai-based production specialist Almoe Productions.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 UAE-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.

Almoe was contracted by flydubai, which is owned and operated by the Dubai government, as the technical services provider.

In addition to rigging, the company also supplied a comprehensive collection of sound, lighting and AV equipment.

The major technical and creative challenge facing the Almoe team was to transform the barn-like structure of the hangar into a theatrical space for the launch.

The event culminated in the reveal of a new Boeing 737-800 aircraft, which necessitated flying trussing the length of the hangar, and bringing the new aircraft in beneath screens that were suspended from it. With the plane valued at US$75 million, the rig above had to be ultra-secure.

Chief rigger Shane Manning put together a system comprising 4 x 40 metre spans (matching the length of the aircraft) of MILOS M400 and M520 trussing, suspended by CM Lodestar motors, to support the required production equipment.

The show rig was designed by Steve Shipman of Clean Edge Design Dubai.

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 easy assembly.

One run of M400 was used to rig back-lighting for the far end of the aircraft. Two M520 runs were braced together and used to fly the PA, main performance lighting and screen motors plus kabuki hardware.

This produced a total loading of approximately 3.5 tonnes on the centre of the roof, with a seven tonne distributed load suspended in total. Manning worked closely with Dubai Airport engineers to secure the weight loadings.

The evening before the show, the aircraft arrived direct from Boeing's assembly plant near Seattle, Washington, 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, assembled delegates and VIPs entered the hangar via a tunnel to a refreshment area, where they glimpsed the silhouetted aircraft hidden by fabric sails and two nine-metre projection screens.When the reveal sequence commenced, the sails dropped and the screens flew out over the Boeing. 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 proceeded to define the stage area.

Guests were then treated to a live broadcast of the aircraft taking off, relayed via remote camera positions on the runway.

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

Almoe acquired its first MILOS trussing system 12 months ago, and has since expanded its inventory to include M400 and M520 trussing and ground support.

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 marks the emirates' entry into the burgeoning Middle East budget airline sector, currently populated by the likes of Air Arabia.

The airline will also bolster the Emirate's plans to become a hub for international air traffic.

CleanEdge touts for new businessThe development of the lighting rig utilised as part of the flydubai launch marked the latest in a string of high-profile projects successfully completed by industry newcomer Clean Edge Design.

Bucking the current economic downturn, lighting specialist Steve Shipman, sound engineer David Lee and production manager Jason Strange joined forces to establish the company in Dubai earlier this year. 

In addition to the flydubai commission, Clean Edge has been involved in a string of high-profile corporate projects including the AFC Football Draw, the Vodafone Qatar launch and the GSM 3G conference.

Shipman says the company recently relocated to a warehouse in Jebel Ali.

"We've already produced a number of corporate events but we're not really looking to get involved in festivals and large-scale concerts just yet," he says.

"We are however considering investing in a large-form outdoor LED screen, which could provide us with an entree into the major events market.

"But for the moment our primary focus is on creative set and lighting designs. We have the ability to execute all aspects of a show."

Clean Edge's founders also operate independently as freelance specialists in their various fields at other events throughout the region, predominantly in Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE.

Shipman was recently involved in the deployment and operation of lighting technology at the Dubai Desert Rock Festival and the Gulf Bike Expo performance by legendary rockers, Deep Purple, which also took place in the emirate.

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