WRAL.com at the State Fair

New State Fair Flyer offers 'one heck of a view'

Posted September 15, 2016
Updated October 13, 2016

— The gates open on the first full day of the State Fair in exactly one month and this year, one of the rides will serve the very practical purpose of moving people from one side of the fairgrounds to the other.

The State Fair Flyer is a permanent attraction and, at 40 feet high, will be a new way for people to see the fair.

The sky lift has 126 seats that hang from a cable that stretches more than 1,400 feet across the fairgrounds.

American Sky Lifts, based in Sanford, owns and built the massive machine at a cost of $1 million dollars. Construction on the attraction began in early June and was moved to the fairgrounds Thursday.

State inspectors looked at safety systems in case of power loss or cable derailment and checked every nut and bolt on the ride Thursday afternoon.

"It is all build around public safety. It has redundant circuits to cover everything on it," said inspector Tommy Petty. "Anything we inspect, if we put our certificate on it, it's safe. I would ride myself, I would ride my children and grandchildren."

Petty, the Deputy Chief of the Elevators and Amusements Bureau, inspects chair lifts across the state- usually in the mountains at ski areas. One of the perks of being the inspector is that he is one of the few who have had an opportunity to ride the State Fair Flyer.

“It’s nice; it’s up in the air pretty good and during the day it is going to be a nice view but at night, with all the lights on the rides and everything, it will be one heck of a view,” he said.

A one-way trip on the State Fair Flyer will cost $5 and a round-trip ride will cost $8. The ride moves at 2 mph and has a lap restraint to keep passengers in their seat.

American Sky Lifts has a 10-year lease to have the lift on the fairgrounds and there is an option for a 10-year renewal.


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  • Phillip Holmes Oct 14, 2016
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    Finally....someone other than me remembers the chair lift used to be at the fair....it never stopped for you to get on or off!!! It slowed down as it turned to go in the opposite direction and you were either scooped up so to speak or you hopped off !!...it went right down the old midway area which to me was a much much better fair....still had the full size race track that featured the hell driver stunt show....also we had the barrel of death motorcycle show where the motorcycles climbed up the wall of a 20 foot barrel and the riders would snatch dollar bills out of your hand as they would fly by the top of the wall where you stood to look down in ther at them......the old nc state fair was really alot better to me than what they have had out ther the last 10 or 12 years ....to me anyway

  • Edward Anderson Sep 16, 2016
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    Wow, that's a pretty pricey ride....I saw it last weekend when I was picking up dinner from the Greek Fest and was beginning to get up-beat about it, cause it looked like a really neat idea, but at that price, I suspect I ain't gonna do it, no matter how crowded the walkways are. Oh, well.

  • John Smith Sep 16, 2016
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    I really hope someone had enough sense to put that in.

  • John Smith Sep 16, 2016
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    Maybe the $5-8 cover plus a stipulation of "no food or drinks allowed" will curb some of the potential problems.

  • Bryan Jeffries Sep 16, 2016
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    If you're looking for, shall we say. robust people, eating really terrible food, well, that view you can get just about anywhere.

  • Pete Knowles Sep 15, 2016
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    They had this ride at the Fair when I was younger. No accidents, but always someone spitting and such, kid stuff. They also had helicopter rides.

  • David McCabe Sep 15, 2016
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    Hopefully the operators do a more thorough job of inspecting those nuts and bolts than the author did checking the spelling in this article...

  • Aiden Audric Sep 15, 2016
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    Hopefully it's not "one heck of a view" of the ground coming at you at 9.81 m/s^2.

    Hoping all the rides are safe this year and all families have fun!