Monday, November 2, 2015

Making Tough Work Look Easy

In Lyon, France, a new high rise office building called Incity Tower is being completed.  Like most tall buildings, it's capped with a large tower which, again like most, appears to be topped by cellular service antennas.  The tower is 50 meters (164 feet) tall on top of a 150 meter (492') tall building and the resulting 200 meter (656') tall building has the highest tower in Lyon and the third highest in France.  The tower weighs 25.9 tonnes, which raises the question of how one puts 25.9 tonnes of metal on roof that's 492' tall?

Watch in full screen.

This is amazing. Note the two guys sticking out of the base section of tower that's being worked on. A mistake with the alignment of that upper section being put in place while exposed would cut them in half. Consider that the enormous weight is a pendulum, but since the helicopter isn't fixed to anything, both the helicopter and the tower section are swinging around a common center of rotation.

It's a job that would make most people wet themselves.  Most people wouldn't have the nerve to climb the ladder inside the lower sections.  (Don't look at me.  I'm a desk jockey; I include myself.)

But this is what it takes to bring the constant connectivity everyone has grown to expect. 


  1. I saw them doing this on the Sears Tower, some years after it had been constructed, when its antennas grew big enough to rival the Hancock's.

  2. Two words: Not me.

    If this is what modern communications requires, let everyone return to using carrier pigeons, messengers or the post office. Hand written letters are more civilized anyway.

  3. I've been on the upper part of that sort of heavy lift. A helicopter pilot who can lift heavy loads and move them around is common, as in helicopter logging. In that work, if problems develop, it's no big deal to pickle (drop) your load. You can't do that with a 100K or multi-100K tower section. or complete tower.

    The kind of pilot who can coax a huge tower section into place where bolts holes are aligned well enough to drop the bolts through is incredible, and worth more than he is usually paid - unless he owns the company doing the lifting. _Then_ he gets paid well.

    But I'm with you guys. Sitting in a helo with open doors is fun. No way in hell, not even to save my own life (well, maybe) could I climb out onto open steel to do what those guys do.