Switzerland – July 7th – Sugyp

Aéro-Folies -The great odyssey of aeronautics – Past, Present and Future

Designed by Nicolas Guinand, Galaxis firing with 35 100-cue modules

The second new recruit for 2012 and a second evening of perfect summer weather. I was eager to see what promised to be a complex show with some surprises – some of which I’d been sworn to secrecy over during the interview. With Sugyp being new to the international competition scene, but having a reputation for audacity in the international pyrotechnics community, I was excited to see if the complexities of the Montreal site would be kind to the team.

The display began with a large set piece in the shape of the Wright Brothers original bi-plane. Sound effects accompanied the device as it moved over the lake, probably at a speed not too dissimilar to the original. Lit up in bright gerbs, which, unfortunately, were not smokeless, it even featured a rotating propeller. Definitely an unusual and original way to begin a display. Quickly we moved into barrages of gold glitter shells that exploited all the angles possible to fill the sky – this being a recurrent strong point of the display design.

Horizontal wheels and flights of single and then double-ascension girandolas were brought into play to further represent the flight theme, to great cheers from the audience. Later, sequences of huge mines were the backdrop to the countdown to an Apollo rocket launch, the dazzling mines giving the impression of the huge flame of a Saturn V. But the most interesting special effect came a few minutes later when a remote controlled helicopter took off from just in front of the Silver section of the audience. Decked out with LEDs on its rotors, the copter flew virtually silently and used the LEDs to draw patterns such as Canadian, Quebec and Montreal City flags and logos as it flew around the site, doing some incredible acrobatics. Not only could it do loop-the-loops, but could fly upside down and appear to dance to the music as it hovered almost vertically. Then it started to shoot pyro effects as it danced around the sky. The audience were captivated as nothing like this has ever been seen in Montreal before. Finally, it returned to where it had been hidden from all along. Special kudos to the pilots of this helicopter as their airmanship was truly outstanding, as was the coordination to the music.

Pyrotechnic highlights included synchronized salutes to the drums of Also sprach Zarathustra, the theme music to 2001: A Space Odyssey. Then a segment of sequenced mines to the music from Close Encounters. This was good, but the timing was just not quite right to give this the real punch that it should have had. The finale was good and powerful, but I personally didn’t quite get the music and thought that the Star Wars theme represented the end of the theme with the “future of aviation”. But no matter, it was a powerful finale.

All in all, this was an excellent display, especially given Sugyp’s debutante status. Nicolas had mentioned to me that he wanted to fill the sky as much as possible and this was certainly the case with the shell angles used, but I found the supporting candle angles a tad conservative. I was also a bit disappointed that only a few nautical effects were used, though I happily concede that these probably couldn’t fit into with an aviation theme! Other small criticisms were that some of the timings weren’t tight enough (especially in the Close Encounters segment) and that there were a few small mistakes here and there as well as some intermittent firing positions on ramp 3. All that said, these are only minor criticisms as the creative aspects of the display were there in abundance. Some people thought that I may have disliked the helicopter scene because it wasn’t “pure pyro”, but this was not the case. I enjoyed it immensely and found it very entertaining. Of course, one could always with for brighter LEDs and more pyro on the helicopter, but it was definitely a unique effect that the audience loved and will remember for a long time.

This year’s competition has certainly got off to a tremendous start so far!

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