Open Forum

Flying Effects- Peter Pan

  • 1.  Flying Effects- Peter Pan

    Posted 11-15-2019 10:26

    Hi Everyone!

    In August, I asked my principal if I'd be able to use ZFX to bring in the equipment necessary to fly for our production of Peter Pan, and got the OK.  Now, (after prep work and planning and reaching out for assistance, etc...) I've been told that we can't because state insurance won't cover it.

    Has anyone encountered this issue?  (Especially if you are a MD public school!) Do I have any other avenues I could go down in order to (actually) fly and use the equipment?  It's how I've been promoting the show to the students, as I think it would be a really great learning experience for them (and for me.)

    I can figure out a way to reimagine the flying if need be, so no suggestions there, please...  I'd just rather figure out if there's a way to be able to incorporate the rigging of the flight elements.


    Tess Garrett
    Theatre Teacher/Director
    Rising Sun High School
    North East, MD

  • 2.  RE: Flying Effects- Peter Pan

    Posted 11-15-2019 13:20
    Is your Drama club a chartered Thespian group? If so, *I think* ITS insurance may cover your group. If someone else has more knowledge of this, please correct me, but I think I was told that if we included ITS logos into our programs and other promotional material, our production would be covered by insurance from ITS, after whatever insurance our district had. I don't know all of the ins and outs of this, but it may be worth looking into.

    Christopher Hamilton
    Drama Teacher
    Kennewick WA

  • 3.  RE: Flying Effects- Peter Pan

    Posted 11-18-2019 09:17
    Hello Friends,

    I will check with our Risk Management team to see whether our insurance program will cover this. It may take several days to get an answer, and I might need more information (from you, Ms. Garrett)

    Brian Monk
    Chief Operating Officer
    Educational Theatre Association
    Cincinnati OH

  • 4.  RE: Flying Effects- Peter Pan

    Posted 11-17-2019 09:05
    I have flown twice with ZFX and last year our district said no to them for whatever reason. I went with Vertigo for flying instead. Their insurance rider is worded differently and worked for my district. They were amazing to work with and I highly recommend them. 
    Happy Flying! 
    ~Angie :)

    Ms. Hillman
    Director of the CAPA Program/Acting Teacher
    Churchill High School
    Livonia, MI

  • 5.  RE: Flying Effects- Peter Pan

    Posted 11-18-2019 00:14
    Hi all

    I am the owner of Vertigo (as well as a tenured university professor, which is why I lurk here).

    First of all, to Angela: Thank you for the kind words.  I hope my team did their best to bring your dreams to life and give you and your students an amazing experience.

    To Theresa - Each of the three major flying companies (ZFX, Vertigo, and Foy) puts safety as their first priority, and each has insurance to cover the flying.  The wording of the insurance policy may vary a little from company to company, but they are all very similar: If we mess up, we are responsible; if you mess up, you are responsible.  Many policies (at least I know ours does) allows the school/district/etc to be added as an additionally insured on the same policy.  Usually it costs very little, if anything at all.

    If you would like to fly and are having issues with the wording of the insurance, simply call the person you are working with at the flying company and have a chat with them.  If the flying company can help, they usually will.  If you have a favorite company or a favorite flying director, give them a chance to make it right with the school/district/etc before jumping to another company.  If possible, try to find the actual risk management person or team in your school or district who has a concern and do your best to connect them directly with the flying director so they can talk through their concerns.  All of the flying systems adhere to a strict set of standards, and to be perfectly honest, your students are safer while flying on the wires than they are driving to the theatre.

    I am a full time teacher, so I get it.  I also design and build flying systems, so I (like my peers at ZFX and Foy) spend a lot of time creating systems that are safe and reliable.  I volunteer as a member of the ESTA TSP Rigging Working Group that helps to write the standards for entertainment rigging of all sorts.  We meet four times each year to talk about safety and reliability of all kinds of entertainment rigging, including performer flying, and it is getting safer every year.

    If you have any questions, hit me back and I'll do my best to help.


    Tracy Nunnally
    NIU - Professor/TD/Area Head
    Vertigo - Owner/System Designer
    ETCP Certified Rigger/Trainer
    DeKalb, Illinois

  • 6.  RE: Flying Effects- Peter Pan

    Posted 11-22-2019 17:22
    Hi Tracy,

    I have a question as my school is thinking about producing Mary Poppins next year and we would like to fly the actors.  I have no experience with this and wonder what the average cost is for four performances and rehearsals?  Also, do you need a full fly system to do this?  Ours is only half.  I have no idea if these are even connected :)  Any information you can provide is greatly appreciated!

    Laura Russo
    Teacher/Director of Theatre Arts
    School District of The Chathams
    Chatham NJ

  • 7.  RE: Flying Effects- Peter Pan

    Posted 11-18-2019 14:10
    Inquire with ZFX regarding their insurance coverage for their work.  We used them 20 years ago.  They supervised installation of equipment and supplied 3 days of training by a flying expert of my crew of adults.  My district did not ask for any additional insurance.

    I will say that every district supports their sports teams, especially FOOTBALL which always has an ambulance parked by the field waiting for any student needing transport to a hospital.  Flying, when using a professional company, is much safer than the scenario I just described.  So I don't quite understand their objection.

    David Kramer
    Mt Sinai NY

  • 8.  RE: Flying Effects- Peter Pan

    Posted 11-20-2019 08:07

    We work exclusively with ZFX and have never had an issue. I have heard great things about Vertigo and Foy. Bottom line, as stated below, each company carries their own insurance and can add the school to the policy.

    Crit Fisher
    Lighting/Sound Designer
    New Albany High School

  • 9.  RE: Flying Effects- Peter Pan

    Posted 11-20-2019 14:00
    Hi Everyone!

    Thanks to all for your suggestions and information.
    Ultimately, our system decided that they *would* support our use of ZFX, provided all flight operators are adults and we have the appropriate number of operators (which is the same number that ZFX requires anyway...)

    Hooray!!  Moving on...

    Tess Garrett
    Theatre Teacher/Director
    Rising Sun High School
    North East, MD