Spotlight Projects:

The Hopper Engineering Associates team provides practical and exciting solutions to unique problems in several industries. To showcase our recent work we choose a project of the month. An archive of previous winners can be found here.

March 2014 Project:

Flying Prop for Touring Music Show
Flying Prop for Touring Music Show

Hopper Engineering was requested to analyze an interior aluminum frame designed by our client which would be utilized for a flying prop in a musician's touring show. The prop has an irregular shape (as shown) and four rigging points for the purpose of suspending it from a moving overhead track system. The interior frame is fabricated from aluminum water jet cut plates connected with aluminum pipe. The outer skin is constructed from thin fiberglass which resembles an American BBQ favorite. The performer is then strapped in via a belt system for fall safety.


In order to analyze the system, a finite element model was created of the internal frame. The loads from the dead weight of the fiberglass, the weight of the performer and dynamic loads from lifting and possible movement of the performer were applied to the FE model. Stresses were then compared to the applicable material codes for verification. One additional consideration was the stiffness of the frame to prevent cracking of the fiberglass. Additional diagonal bracing was installed to mitigate this.

HEA has completed numerous jobs similar to the one shown above (Similar Projects)