High Roller: Building The World’s Largest Ferris Wheel

High Roller: Building The World’s Largest Ferris Wheel


(upbeat music) – High Roller is the biggest
observation wheel in the world. It was was a great challenge for us. I had worked on a lot of big projects, from the Olympics to whole theme parks. But to get to build the
largest observation wheel in the world, there is no instruction book on how to build a wheel like this. You really have to begin from scratch. (wind noise) – Caesar’s executives had the idea, at the time there was an
alleyway that separated the Flamingo Hotel from what at the time was the Imperial Palace, and they could have
built the world’s tallest roller coaster, the world’s
fastest roller coaster, but they were looking for an attraction that was all encompassing. (upbeat music) – When you’re building a project like this that’s so unique and a one of a kind, you never really know how
it’s going to be received, or what the steps are to get it built. When we took this project to
the Vegas Building Department, they didn’t know how to classify it, so believe it or not, this is actually a transportation device. We looked at a lot of the other wheels, the London Eye of course
everybody’s familiar with right on the Thames. The Singapore Flyer was the
biggest wheel in the world. And it’s interesting, because
to look at these devices, it’s a wheel. It’s a pretty simple form. You build a big wheel,
and you put a pivot in it, and you spin it around. But they’re actually
quite complex to build. So we put together an All-Star
team and together we came up with a unique structural
design to be the biggest wheel in the world at 555 feet tall. It’s really an amazing piece
of architectural engineering, constructional engineering. The really breakthrough
moment was when we figured out the size of the bearing ring
these cabins could fit into. The cabins hold 40 people,
so they’re not small, and they have to be to rotate
smoothly as they make the trip around the circle so that they stay level. It’s the biggest bearing
ring that’s manufactured anywhere on the planet. The wheel is moving about
one foot per second, which is fast enough to get
us around in 30 minutes. The safety issues are pretty significant. If you’re at the top of the
wheel and something goes wrong, how do you get down again? We did lots of computer simulations. We knew exactly what the view would look like in all directions, but to actually get to ride
it and see what it looks like is a pretty staggering feeling and it’s exactly what we
live for as the people that design this kind of thing. – [Eric Eberhart] It has become an icon of the city of Las Vegas. We obviously wanted to be
the biggest and the best. We would have gone higher, but because of our close
proximity to the airport, the FAA restricted how high we could go, and we took it right to the limit. – [Phil Hettema] Everybody
knows the neon alley that the strip is, but this beautiful ring that sits above it has really become a landmark. There’s just something innately, we want to go to the top of the mountain. We want to climb to the
top of the building, and just get that vista. And I think it’s because
it helps us make sense of each other. And we always want to see what’s next. – I definitely believe we
will sustain our record of being the tallest
wheel in North America. There’s a couple of
wheels that are proposed that are bigger. Dubai is under construction
and is much higher than ours, but there are always challenges. I think if they didn’t push
it, we wouldn’t advance, whether that’s in space or automobiles. It’s wanting to be the best. This wheel did it, and I think that that
will continue to happen.

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