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(last updated 8/7/05)

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Job: TOWER OPERATOR


Objective: To safely operate the Chairway-to-Heaven, also known as The Tower.
 
Hours of Operation: 7 PM to 1 AM / Shift Duration: 2 hrs
 
Equipment and Skills Needed: Chairway-to-Heaven.  Gloves optional.  Good back and good upper-body strength.  Water to drink, since this can require a fair amount of physical effort.
 
Description:  The Chairway offers a fantastic way to view Burning Man from a height of 4 stories, and anyone sitting at the top will be the highest citizen of Black Rock City.  Or at least will be at the greatest altitude.  As a Tower Operator, you will be worshiped and thanked, and maybe bribed. 

Your job is to fasten the guest into the seat, load the correct amount of ballast, double-check buoyancy, and while monitoring safety carefully, send the guest to the top for a 2-3 minute stay.  After pulling the guest back down, you should secure the seat and allow the guest to exit.

Good upper body strength is important, both for loading and unloading 25-lb counter-balance weights, and for pulling the chair 40-feet back down from the top.

Properly operated, the Chairway is completely safe.  Unfortunately, a mistakes could be fatal.  Hands-on training will be provided to all operators by the Chairway coordinator, Mayor Joey, Major-D, or by some other qualified operator.  If the Chairway is locked, Mayor Joey, the Tower Coordinator and Major-D will have keys to unlock it.

Safety:  Because mistakes can be fatal, correct operation of the Chairway is absolutely critical.  No one should attempt to operate the tower who has not received training from a qualified operator/trainer.

Furthermore, it’s really important that the 5-point harness for the seat be properly fastened and tested.  A guest is likely to die if he or she falls 40’, and under no circumstances should a guest be allowed to ride who is not properly fastened.  The operator should also carefully assess the rider’s mental attitude.  If someone seems so unstable or intoxicated that they may unfasten themselves, don’t let them ride.

Children under 12 should not be allowed to ride, given the ease with which they can unfasten the safety harness.

It’s very important that the correct amount of ballast be loaded for each guest, and that the seat be checked for proper buoyancy.  Too much buoyancy, or pulling the lock-down pin without checking, may result in an uncontrolled rise, with serious consequences when the seat reaches the top of the tower.  The lock-down pin should not be pulled unless and until the Operator and Brakeman both agree that everything is ready to go.

It’s very important that the seat be allowed to rise at a controlled rate, and that the travel be slowed to a crawl as the seat reaches the final inches of its travel.

People will be standing directly below the guest in the tower, and anything dropped from that height could easily penetrate the skull of someone underneath.  No one should be allowed to take anything up with them that could be dropped.  Only allow a camera if it has a neck strap, and that neck strap is around the guest’s neck.  Either the operator or brakeman should be watching at all times for dropped objects and react accordingly if something is seen to be falling.

Only qualified and trained operators are allowed to operate the Chairway.  The training is neither complex nor lengthy, but it is mandatory.

NEVER leave the Chairway unattended and unlocked.  If you must leave, and another qualified operator is not present to assume responsibility, LOCK THE CHAIRWAY SO IT CANNOT BE OPERATED.  
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Job: CHAIRWAY BRAKEMAN

 

Objective: To safely assist in the operation of the Chairway-to-Heaven.
 
Hours of Operation: 7 PM to 1 AM / Shift Duration: 2 hrs
 
Equipment Needed: Chairway-to-Heaven and primary Chairway operator.  Gloves optional  .Good back and good upper-body strength.  Water to drink, since this can require a fair amount of physical effort.

 
Description:  The Chairway offers a fantastic way to view Burning Man from a height of 4 stories, and anyone sitting at the top will be the highest citizen of Black Rock City.  Or at least will be at the greatest altitude.  Your job is to assist the Chairway operator as needed with loading the correct amount of ballast, double-checking buoyancy, and playing out the rope that provides for the controlled rise.  Your job is to also help pull the guest back down at the end of their ride, and that takes some effort.

Good upper body strength is important, both for loading and unloading 25-lb counter-balance weights, and for pulling the chair 40-feet back down from the top.

Safety:  The same safety rules for the Chairway Operator apply to the Chairway Brakeman:

Because mistakes can be fatal, correct operation of the Chairway is absolutely critical.  No one (including the Brakeman) should attempt to operate the tower who has not received training from a qualified operator/trainer.

Furthermore, it’s really important that the 5-point harness for the seat be properly fastened and tested.  Provide a visual backup for the operator to be sure the harness is fastened correctly.  Remember, a guest is likely to die if he or she falls 40’, and their life depends on the harness being properly fastened.  You should advise the Operator if you have any concerns about the rider’s mental attitude or any other factors that could affect the safety of our guests, either on the ground or in the air.

Children under 12 should not be allowed to ride, given the ease with which they can unfasten the safety harness.

It’s very important that the correct amount of ballast be loaded for each guest, and that the seat be checked for proper buoyancy.  Too much buoyancy, or pulling the lock-down pin without checking, may result in an uncontrolled rise, with serious consequences when the seat reaches the top of the tower.  The lock-down pin should not be pulled unless and until the Operator and Brakeman both agree that everything is ready to go.

It’s also very important that the seat be allowed to rise at a controlled rate, and that the travel be slowed to a crawl as the seat reaches the final inches of its travel.  Your job as Brakeman is to be sure the seat will not be lost to an uncontrolled rise if the Operator should lose grip of a line.  Do not release the line until the chair has reached the top, and the Operator has released the other line.

People will be standing directly below the guest in the tower, and anything dropped from that height could easily penetrate the skull of someone underneath.  No one should be allowed to take anything up with them that could be dropped.  Only allow a camera if it has a neck strap, and that neck strap is around the guest’s neck.  Either the operator or brakeman should be watching at all times for dropped objects and react accordingly if something is seen to be falling.

Only qualified and trained operators should operate the Chairway.  The training is neither complex nor lengthy, but it is mandatory, and it is available from the Tower Coordinator, Mayor Joey or Major-D.

NEVER leave the Chairway unattended and unlocked.  If you must leave, and a qualified operator is not present, LOCK THE CHAIRWAY SO IT CANNOT BE OPERATED. 
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