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Thursday, 08 May 2014 12:37cat

Tilt! Set To Open to Public on Saturday

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Tilt! will become Chicago's newest attraction Tilt! will become Chicago's newest attraction NBC News

Chicago’s newest tourist attraction is set to open to the public on Saturday. Tilt! is part of the newly redesigned John Hancock observatory, referred to as 360 Chicago for its panoramic views of the city. Visitors will be able to spend 75 seconds leaning up against the 94th floor windows as they tilt outward up to a 30-degree angle. The attraction will compete with the Willis Tower’s retractable glass boxes for the most nerve wrecking view of the city. The Skydeck boxes opened in July 2009 and they allow people to walk a few feet out of the skyscraper and look directly down at the street below. Tilt! is unlike any other tourist attraction in the world as it allows people to go from standing inside the skyscraper to leaning out over the street below and back. Most other observation deck attractions around the world are stationary and usually retract only to be cleaned or during bad weather.

The new Tilit! Ride can hold up to 8 people at a time. The ride, or experience as the attraction’s owners prefer to call it, starts out in a vertical position in line with the rest of the building’s exterior. People then grab hold of large metal bars and the attraction’s hydraulic motor and actuators slowly inch the riders forward.  The ride stops once the glass forms a 30-degree angle with the building and allows riders to take in the view from 1000 ft. Unlike the Skydeck, which is nearly completely glass and hides it’s engineering, Tilt! looks more like a machine. Riders can see the moving pieces that make the ride work. French company Montparnasse, 360 Chicago’s owner and operator, have said that Tilt! is not a direct response to the Willis Tower introducing the Ledge. Whether it is or not, each attraction has its own advantages.

The 31,000-pound steel box that encloses Tilt! was designed by Thornton Tomasetti. It uses a hydraulic motor and three hydraulic actuators to power the attraction. Tilt! was first built and tested at TrussWorks International in Anaheim, California. The project took a few years to complete and work started in earnest 18 months ago. Engineers who worked on the project were invited to try it out yesterday before Tilt! opened to the public. They spoke about the unique aspects of the project. "It's almost like we were designing a piece of construction equipment that we were putting into place," said Christian DeFazio, one of the Thornton Tomasetti engineers on the project. "It was not a textbook scenario, by any means. When you are literally putting people outside the building, there's an extra fear factor in your design."  

There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony today, and then Tilt! will officially open to the public on Saturday. It will start out costing an additional $5 to the $18 entrance fee for 360 Chicago. The extra $5 is an introductory rate and it has not yet been determined how long it will last. Visitors will be spend around 5 minutes in the Tilt! area of 360 Chicago and then will get 75 seconds to experience the unique perspective of the city from the actual mechanism.

Please see the video embedded under media below to check out what the attraction looks like.

Sources: Chicago Tribune360 Chicago

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The video gives a preview of the view that Tilt! offers 360 Chicago

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