Rock Exotica

Rock Exotica Butterfly Lift System

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  • $ 5,000

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Rock Exotica Butterfly Lift System

What does it do?

The Butterfly Lift is an intuitive manual counterweight flying system for human payloads up to 350 lbs or non-human payloads up to 500 lbs. in weight. With a Butterfly Lift you can:

    • Swiftly lower a payload line to a stage.
    • Attach a load or performer on the payload line.
    • Immediately unlock a pre-set counterweight and raise/lower the load or performer with minimal manual effort.
    • Smoothly fly the load or performer at variable speeds perfect for live performance. Max speed varies with operator technique and strength but speeds of 6 fps (feet per  second) to 8 fps are typical.
    • Land the load or dismount the performer from the apparatus while retaining control of the counterweight via a foot-operated locking  system.
    • Immediately retract the payload line from view.


Butterfly Lift User Manual (pdf)
Click Here for a full diagram of the Butterfly Lift: 

How it Works

The unique counter-weight arbor system contained within the Butterfly Lift case is fully adjustable to match the weight of the performer(s).  In additional to the offset provided by the counterweight, a 2:1 mechanical advantage is also achieved by the system. The combination of the counterweight and mechanical advantage amplifies the input force from the operator and reduces the effort required by the operator to fly a performer.

The adjustable arbor can accommodate traditional stage weights as well as improvised ballast such as concrete or sand bags.

Click to enlarge images:

The base lock assembly includes a bi-directional cam lock mechanism that releases the load when the operator depresses the foot pedal and locks the system when the pedal is released. This lock holds the overhead arbor when the performer dismounts the system and anytime the system is not in use.


The payload line is attached to the apparatus and is quickly deployable and retractable, independent of the position of the Butterfly Lift ballast. This allows the apparatus to be raised and lowered without having to move the full weight of the ballast during performance.


The Butterfly Lift is adaptable to rig in nearly any location of sufficient height and suitable support structure to fly a performer. Careful consideration must be given to suitable anchors and rigging methods when installing the Butterfly Lift. Only individuals properly trained in theater or aerial rigging should perform this task.

Features & Benefits

    • Replaces more expensive and complicated motorized winches.
    • Provides engineered and tested safety that will be consistently applied to each performance despite the venue.
    • Base lock holds counter weight system when there is not performer and the system is unbalanced until the operator depresses the foot pedal releasing the locking mechanism.
    • All lift components (minus mounting board) fit within the case.
    • Durable case features wheels and handle for ease of transport and can be checked as luggage on flights.
    • 2:1 mechanical advantage.
    • Retractable payload line quickly raises and lowers apparatus independent of counterweight system.
    • A variety of weights can be used: standard theater weights, sand bags, or concrete bags.

What's Included

The Butterfly Lift consists of four main pieces: the case or ballast, head block, brake assembly and mounting board. All pieces, except the mounting board, fit within the Butterfly Lift case in precision-cut foam for efficient transport and storage. The Butterfly Lift is sold in configurations that bundle textile rope in various lengths.

Click to enlarge images:

Pricing & Technical Specs

Butterfly Lift Packages

Butterfly Lift - Standard Package


Standard package will accommodate house ceilings up to 40' high.

    • Butterfly Lift
      • Head Block
        • Slewing payload block with fiber rope sheave (Wire rope kit available)
        • Operating line double block
        • Payload line pass-through becket
      • Handled case with wheels
        • Adjustable arbor rack
        • Top and bottom arbor blocks
        • Payload line yoke
      • Base lock assembly
        • Base rope lock with foot pedal
        • Rope tensioner
        • Folding base plate
      • Payload loft block with fiber rope sheave (Wire rope kit available)

    • 120' 5/8" Operating line
      • Double braid poly/poly
      • 5/8" (16mm)
      • Tensile: 14,400 lbs
      • Weight @ 120': 15 lbs
      • 2-4% Elongation
    • 120' 7/16 static Payload line
      • Double braid poly/poly
      • 7/16" (11mm)
      • Tensile: 6,600 lbs
      • Weight @ 120': 7.7 lbs
      • 2-4% Elongation


BFL Case weight with components: 70 lb
Base and bag: 30lbs
Total rope weight (2): 22.7 lbs
Operating Line: 5/8" diameter x 120'
Payload Line:7/16" dia x 120'
Max Counterweight: 350 lbs (case weight + counterbalance weights)
Max Payload: 350 lbs (human weight + apparatus) 500 lbs (non-live load)

Min Operating height: House height -10'
Max Operating height: 40'

Click here for specs & dimensions 

Butterfly Lift - 60' House Option

Suitable for rigging height up to 60'

  • Replace operation line with 180'
    • Weight: 22.5 lbs
  • Replace payload line with 180'
    • Weight: 11.5 lbs


Ask a Question
  • Does this system need to be @ 90% to the pulley as per your page photo or any angle

    To the best of my understanding, the system does need to be at a 90 degrees for the rope to travel in its intended path at the redirect above the counterweight. When any angles are introduced, the base plate will have forces pulling up and to the side, which could slide the counterweight plate on the floor if it is not fastened to the floor directly, or put sheer stress on hardware if bolted to the floor. This link shows a helpful video for the Butterfly's installation that may help visualize the system: