The Singapore Flyer is a giant Ferris wheel or observation wheel located at downtown core, Singapore. Construction of the Singapore flyer lasted from 2005 to 2008 when it opened in the spring. The Flyer has an overall height of 165 meters (541 ft) and was the world’s tallest Ferris wheel until 2014 when it was overtaken by the High Roller in Las Vegas.
Standing at the height of a 42-storey building, the Singapore Flyer is Asia’s largest giant observation wheel. Its 28 fully air-conditioned capsules can accommodate up to 28 passengers each. On a clear day, the Flyer offers passengers a 45km panoramic view stretching from Singapore’s Marina Bay waterfront across to Malaysia and Indonesia. A complete ‘flight’ lasts around 30 minutes.
The main engineering consultant was Arup, the firm that also worked on another famous giant observation wheel, the London Eye. The team developed a unique spoke cable and rim structure arrangement that simultaneously provides restraint to the radial translational buckling in the plane of the wheel and the torsional buckling along the axis of the rim. The result is a two-dimensional ladder truss structure that creates a lightweight and elegant icon for the Singapore skyline. An innovative vertical erection method was used to overcome the support structure limitations and space constraints on site. The wheel was erected in a ‘pie slice’ fashion, with each segment being rotated until all segments were installed. Singapore’s “Sumatra Squall” wind conditions posed a further challenge to the design team. Extensive wind research and dynamic modelling were carried out to ensure the comfort and safety of passengers in windy weather.
The wheel initially rotated in a counter-clockwise direction when viewed from Marina Centre, but on 4 August 2008 this was reversed on the advice of Feng Shui masters. A fact that exhibits the dynamic relationship between modern engineering advancements and traditional sensibilities in South Asia.