The marina at Edmonds is a regular source of interest for me. They have racks on which the boats get stored in multiple levels. This requires a method for moving and lifting the boats and this is a bunch of specialist fork lifts. They have very long arms to support the boats and a high extension to get the boats to the upper levels and also provide clearance over the racks when maneuvering the loads in tight spaces. They must be pretty heavy to provide sufficient balance when picking up the boats. Watching them wobble around is a little strange but entrancing.
I have stayed in the same hotel in Addison TX a couple of times recently for work trips. The view from my window has been of a building site that has been progressively developing on each visit. On one morning, I was just getting ready to check out when I could see the crew getting ready to lift a concrete panel into place. The crane they were using was a substantial beast. The crew were scattering to different locations to carry out their roles and then they started lifting the panel. They had several lift lines which could be controlled individually to allow the, to rotate the panel as required. Sadly I had to go before they finished. I should be back before too long, though, so I shall see how progress is going.
While walking along the shore in Edmonds, we passed the marina and the loading area for the boats. They had a boat lift for the smaller boats to be taken off trailers and put in the water. A guy brought his boat along just as we got there so I had to watch the process. The two guys running the lifts clearly knew what they were doing but the guy insisted on explaining it all to them. They handled it with good grace.
The lift had a track system that turned through ninety degrees. There were two lifts in parallel if the demand was there. The trailer was driven into position and the lifting straps were brought around. They were then passed under the boat and it was lifted up. Once it was clear of everything, the whole assembly motored along the rails, around the corner and out over the dock. It was then a simple process to lower it down into the water and then move it away.
This was fine for boats of a certain size. If you wanted to put anything larger into the water, a far larger rig was required but that wasn’t needed while we were there so I didn’t get to watch it. In my younger days living in Cowes, I got to see those lifts at work a lot.
My Dad and Jan recently made a trip to Glasgow and while they were there, they took a trip out to Falkirk. They went to see a new sculpture called the Kelpies which I would certainly like to take a look at if I get back up that way. Google it in the mean time. They also went to see the Falkirk Wheel. This is something we saw a few years ago. We were visiting friends in Falkirk en route to a wedding of some other friends.
The wheel is a mechanism for raising boats between two levels of a canal. The canal is no longer in full operation but this section has been restored for visitors. Instead of a traditional lock system, the wheel has two elements that hold water and boats that are at opposing ends and counterbalance each other. The whole thing rotates to lift or lower boats from the lower basin to the upper basin.
You can take a boat ride on the lift if you have the time. We had a limited time there so we just watched it in operation. Not only is it a cool piece of engineering but it is also elegantly designed. Definitely one to see if you are close.
I was recently looking back through a few of the previous posts and came across some images of Erickson Aircrane at work in Chicago with their S64 Skycranes. I was thinking about the various times I had worked with these guys and it occurred to me that several of those lifts had taken place before I started the blog. Therefore, today is a gratuitous chance to look at some older helicopter shots.
The guys at Erickson have carried out many lifts in the Chicago area. On one occasion, they did two lifts in one day on opposite sides of the city. The first was down near Hyde Park with some equipment being lifted onto a residential block. The loads were lifted in a park area in front of the building. Lots of trees were in this park and the Skycrane did an excellent job of finding the weakest and dead limbs. By the end of the job, the ground was covered in dead wood!
The second lift was in Oak Park and was from a garage structure up to the roof of the building. however, next to the garage was an older building with a wooden roof and balconies which had lots of stuff stored on them. After the morning, we were rather worried about how much stuff would be damaged. Amazingly, the gentle breeze from the street made the downdraft totally benign and the building was unharmed. Hope you like the shots.
I shall be a touch self-congratulatory here and celebrate something good that happened to me. Rotor Magazine held their annual photo contest and I entered a picture in the category Helicopters at Work. I am happy to say I won the category. The picture was in the edition of the magazine for Heli-Expo and was on show at the event itself. Many thanks to the guys at Midwest Helicopters. It was one of the shoots with them that the shot came from. I hope they are as glad as I am!
The Super Puma lift that Construction helicopters undertook at the Merchandise Mart was a good chance to get some video of a wider nature rather than the close up stuff I normally get. Here is the result.
In a previous post I showed some images I took at the Midwest Helicopters lifting job at the Merchandise Mart. As is normal for me these days, I also took the time to get a bunch of video and, finally, I have got around to editing this. I wanted to focus a little more on the guys working on the roof rather than just the helicopter operations. Of course, there is still plenty of footage of the flying too! I hope you enjoy.
I know what you are thinking. It has been a long time and no helicopter photos Rob! You are right, it has been too long. Fortunately, I can rectify the situation. The good people at Midwest Helicopters had a very intensive project recently. The Merchandise Mart in Chicago was the project in question. They are installing a series of new chiller units on the roof of the building. These are big units – too large for the Midwest helicopters to lift as it happens. However, before they go up, there is plenty of work to be done.
Big chiller units need to be mounted to something and getting the structural steelwork up on the roof is no small task. It needed over 180 lifts to complete the job. It was planned for two possible days with the whole day being booked for each occasion to maximize what could be done. Flying the helicopter all day was intensive for the aircraft and required two pilots to alternate in order to avoid getting exhausted.
I got myself up on to the roof of the Mart for the job. The Mart is a huge building. It used to be the largest floor space building in the world before the Pentagon was built. It might still be second (and, if I was diligent, I could probably look that up to confirm it but we know that isn’t happening while I am in mid-story). The roof is a big space and there were two separate areas where work was going to be done.
Mounting points on the roof had been installed in advance. The task on the day was to lift each piece of steel to the roof and bolt it into place. The next would follow and the frameworks for mounting the chillers would gradually come into place as the ironworkers bolted each new piece to the previous pieces. (The chillers will follow in a few weeks when Construction Helicopters come to town and I hope to cover that too.) Each pick went pretty quickly. As the new piece came into place, the guys on the roof grabbed it and bolted it into place.
The line would be released and the helicopter would go down for the next piece while the guys finished bolting the piece into place and preparing for the next section. This was a continuous process as long as the helicopter had fuel. Given how warm and sunny it was, the black-painted roof was a hot place to be and the guys were working hard. I was glad to only be photographing the whole thing!
After the helicopter left for the first refueling, I headed down from the roof. I had other things to be done that day and headed off. My original plan had been to get some shots from the ground on the second day. A lot of the steel was being stored on a barge on the river so getting some shots of that being lifted to the roof was the plan.
However, the team was super-efficient and completed the whole job in the one day. This was a great success for them and, while they were exhausted at the end of it, I am sure they were very pleased with the result. Unfortunately, with no second day, I missed out on getting the other shots I had planned. Oh well, there is always another day.
Let’s skip the detailed introduction. Here is the video of the Hyatt lift I mentioned previously.