How it Works

What does it do?

The Butterfly Lift is an intuitive manual counterweight flying system for human payloads up to 350 lbs or non-human payloads up to 500 lbs. 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 load or performer with minimal manual effort.

    • Smoothly fly the load or 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.

    • Land the load or 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.


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

How it Works

The unique counter-weight arbor system contained within the Butterfly Lift case is fully adjustable to match the weight of the performer(s).  In additional 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 can accommodate traditional stage weights as well as improvised ballast such as concrete or sand bags.

Click to enlarge images:

The base lock assembly includes a bi-directional cam lock mechanism that releases the load when the operator depresses the foot pedal and locks the system when the pedal is released. This lock holds the overhead arbor 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 Butterfly Lift ballast. This allows the apparatus to be raised and lowered without having to move the full weight of the ballast during performance.


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.

Features & Benefits

    • Replaces more expensive and complicated motorized winches.

    • Provides engineered and tested safety that will be consistently applied to each performance despite the venue.

    • Base lock holds counter weight system when there is not performer and the system is unbalanced until the operator depresses the foot pedal releasing the locking mechanism.

    • All lift components (minus mounting board) 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 ballast, head block, brake assembly and mounting board. All pieces, except the mounting board, fit within the Butterfly Lift case in precision-cut foam for efficient transport and storage. The Butterfly Lift is sold in configurations that bundle textile rope in various lengths.

Click to enlarge images:

Pricing & Technical Specs

Butterfly Lift Packages

Butterfly Lift - Standard Package


Standard package will accommodate house ceilings up to 40' high.

    • Butterfly Lift
      • Head Block
        • Slewing payload block with fiber rope sheave (Wire rope kit available)
        • Operating line double block
        • Payload line pass-through becket
      • Handled case with wheels
        • Adjustable arbor rack
        • Top and bottom arbor blocks
        • Payload line yoke
      • Base lock assembly
        • Base rope lock with foot pedal
        • Rope tensioner
        • Folding base plate
      • Payload loft block with fiber rope sheave (Wire rope kit available)

    • 120' 5/8" Operating line
      • Double braid poly/poly
      • 5/8" (16mm)
      • Tensile: 14,400 lbs
      • Weight @ 120': 15 lbs
      • 2-4% Elongation
    • 120' 7/16 static Payload line
      • Double braid poly/poly
      • 7/16" (11mm)
      • Tensile: 6,600 lbs
      • Weight @ 120': 7.7 lbs
      • 2-4% Elongation


BFL Case weight with components: 70 lb
Base and bag: 30lbs
Total rope weight (2): 22.7 lbs
Operating Line: 5/8" diameter x 120'
Payload Line:7/16" dia x 120'
Max Counterweight: 350 lbs (case weight + counterbalance weights)
Max Payload: 350 lbs (human weight + apparatus) 500 lbs (non-live load)

Min Operating height: House height -10'
Max Operating height: 40'

Click here for specs & dimensions

Butterfly Lift - 60' House Option

Suitable for rigging height up to 60'

  • Replace operation line with 180'
    • Weight: 22.5 lbs
  • Replace payload line with 180'
    • Weight: 11.5 lbs


Base Ballast Kit

The base ballast kit includes six heavy duty PVC bags capable of holding 40-80 lb bags of concrete. Large handles sewn into loops of webbing that encircle the bag assist in moving the large weight when needed. Kit produces up to 480 LBS of weight on the base of the Butterfly Lift.

  • 6 concrete bags in each kit
  • 4 cam buckle straps



Arbor Ballast Kit

Custom sized sandbags fit the inside of the Butterfly lift case for ease of adjusting to the weight of the performer. Sandbags are made from heavy duty PVC material and close snugly at the top with a 1" strip of velcro. Each bag fills with approximately 18 lbs of sand to create a total possible arbor weight of 180 lbs.

  • 10 custom-sized sand bags in each kit



Wire Rope Payload Kit

The Wire Rope Payload Kit allows for the connection of a wire rope payload line to the Butterfly Lift. Includes a stopper and two steel sheaves necessary to operate the lift with wire rope. Wire rope not included. Working with wire rope requires proper training and should only be attempted by qualified individuals.

    • Wire rope sheave for slewing head block

    • Wire rope sheave for payload loft block

  • Wire rope yoke adapter



Complimentary Products



How to Purchase

Butterfly Lift Packages

The Butterfly Lift can be purchased through a Rock Exotica dealer, or directly by calling 844-651-2422.

A signed liability waiver must accompany each purchase prior to the processing of the order.

Click here to sign the waiver

Appropriate professional training is absolutely essential prior to use. A list of authorized trainers is provided here.

Butterfly Lift Authorized Trainers

Delbert Hall

D2 Flying Effects, Johnson City, TN
(423) 773-4255

Nicolas ‘’Chuck’’ Lemieux

Montreal, QC, Canada
(438) 838-8825

Cyrile Vo-Quang

Acrobatic Equipment Consultant
Canada Phone and Whatsapp: +1.514.909.7109
Based in Montreal

Already own the Butterfly Lift?

If you already own the Butterfly Lift, please take a moment to register your product. By registering your product, we are able to contact you regarding product and usage information and updates.

Click here to register your Butterfly Lift


“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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