Butterfly Lift

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What does it do?

The Butterfly Lift is a complete manual counterweight flying system for payloads up to 350 lb in weight. With a Butterfly Lift you can:

  • Swiftly lower a payload line to a stage.

  • Attach a load or performer on the payload line.

  • Immediately unlock a pre-set counterweight and raise/lower the performer with minimal manual effort.

  • Smoothly fly the performer at variable speeds perfect for live performance. Max speed varies with operator technique and strength but speeds of 6 fps (feet per second) to 8 fps are typical.

  • Dismount the performer from the apparatus while retaining control of the counterweight via a foot-operated locking system.

  • Immediately retract the payload line from view.

How it Works

The unique counterweight arbor system contained within the Butterfly Lift case is fully adjustable to match the weight of the performer(s).  In addition to the offset provided by the counterweight, a 2:1 mechanical advantage is also achieved by the system. The combination of the counterweight and mechanical advantage amplifies the input force from the operator and reduces the effort required by the operator to fly a performer.

The adjustable arbor within the case can accommodate traditional stage weights as well as improvised counterweight such as concrete or sand bags.

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The base lock assembly includes a bi-directional cam lock mechanism that releases the load when the operator presses the foot pedal and locks the system when the pedal is released. This lock holds the overhead counterweight when the performer dismounts the system and anytime the system is not in use.

The payload line is attached to the apparatus and is quickly deployable and retractable, independent of the position of the counterweight. This allows the apparatus to be raised and lowered without having to move the full counterweight during a performance.

Features & Benefits

  • Provides alternative to more expensive and complicated motorized winches.

  • Base Lock prevents movement of the system when the operator releases the Lock Pedal.

  • All lift components except the base plate fit within the case.

  • Durable case features wheels and handle for ease of transport and can be checked as luggage on flights.

  • 2:1 mechanical advantage.

  • Retractable payload line quickly raises and lowers apparatus independent of counterweight system.

  • A variety of weights can be used: standard theater weights, sand bags, or concrete bags.

What's Included

The Butterfly Lift consists of four main pieces: the case or counterweight, head block assembly, base lock assembly and folding base plate. All pieces, except the base plate, fit within the Butterfly Lift case in precision-cut foam for efficient transport and storage. The Butterfly Lift is sold in two configurations that accommodate 40' and 60' house height.

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Butterfly Lift User Manual (.pdf)
Click Here for a full diagram of the Butterfly Lift:


The Butterfly Lift is adaptable to rig in nearly any location of sufficient height and suitable support structure to fly a performer. Careful consideration must be given to suitable anchors and rigging methods when installing the Butterfly Lift. Only individuals properly trained in theater or aerial rigging should perform this task.

How to Purchase

The Butterfly Lift is available for purchase in two rope configurations, with a variety of accessories. Training is required before purchase. Click here for more information.

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“I have been flying performers for over 36 years and this is the safest, easiest to install, performer flying rig that I have seen. It is a game changer.”

Delbert Hall

D2 Flying Effects, Johnson City TN

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