Note: This post has been updated to reflect a change in the number of carriers on the ride.
The N.C. State Fairgrounds will premiere its first permanent ride at the 2016 fair. The State Fair Flyer will transport fairgoers across the Midway, giving visitors a beautiful aerial view of the grounds. We talked to American Sky Lifts, who will own and operate the lift.
Q: What is the State Fair Flyer?
A: The State Fair Flyer is similar to a ski lift. Its endpoints are the “Orville Terminus” at the west end of the Scott Building and the “Wilbur Terminus” near Gate 8. A one-way trip will take riders 1,400 feet across the fairgrounds and will last about seven minutes.
Q: How big is the ride?
A: The ride is over 40 feet high at its highest point, around the height of a three-story building. It has 126 carriers with two seats each, meaning it can transport up to 252 passengers at a time.
Q: How fast is it?
A: State Fair Flyer carriers move at 200 feet per minute, or a little over 2 miles per hour. Riders will have the chance to glide over the fairgrounds at a safe speed and admire the view.
Q: Is it safe?
A: Yes, many safety features are built into the ride. Trained operators will secure riders using restraints that feature positive locking mechanisms like those found on roller coasters. The ride also has reinforced steel footers that accommodate normal expansion and contraction of materials due to temperature changes.
Q: How much will it cost to ride the State Fair Flyer?
A: $5 one way, $8 for a round trip. You can save $1 by purchasing tickets before the fair starts.
Q: Will the Flyer be used after the fair?
A: The ride was built by American Sky Lifts of Sanford, N.C. This company owns the ride, has permission to operate it during the fair and can request to operate the Flyer at other times of the year.