September 1st, 2008
04:41 PM ET

Holding down the Fly-Away

Rob Marciano | BIO

One of the ways to broadcast during a hurricane is by using what's called a "fly-away."
It works like a satellite truck except it comes in 9 to 40 cases and has no wheels!

CNN engineers can put one together in about an hour, but getting all the crates up to the hotel roof took another hour. The roof is very exposed so protecting the dish from the winds took another couple of hours.

Even then… the makeshift tarps and tents had to be held down ALL day so the satellite dish wouldn’t get damage or fly away itself! A broadcast engineer’s work is never done!

Endless thanks for keeping CNN on the air!!! It still amazes me how we can beam images through thin air. Oh and by the way… the air was moving pretty fast when Gustav plowed through South East Louisiana.

CNN Engineers Brian Weeks and Ron Williamson. (Kidane Stephanos not pictured)

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Filed under: Behind The Scenes • Hurricane Gustav • Rob Marciano
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Vanilla Cokehead

    as a former news photog – I remember back in '92 during Hurricane Andrew on the MS Gulf Coast that our sat truck operator had to move twice to keep the dish from being ripped off. The other memory was being shocked on a light stand during a live shot. Not fun. Props to y'all for doing a very difficult job...

    September 1, 2008 at 10:10 pm |
  2. Jolene

    Great job covering Gustav today. Your knowledge of hurricanes as well as your tenacity to ride the storm out on the top of that hotel was not only informative but impressive. Thanks for blogging and showing us some behind the scenes pics!

    Jolene, St. Joseph, MI

    September 1, 2008 at 9:17 pm |
  3. Uma, Liverpool, UK

    Thanks for your dedication, all. It is important to so many people, to know what's going on. You make it happen. That is truly admirable!

    Wishing you all safety and health,

    from a much less wet England,

    Uma Devidatta

    September 1, 2008 at 7:09 pm |
  4. Sarita

    I saw your broadcast this morning Rob, and couldn't understand how you guys stayed on air – now it all makes sense! The best of luck to you & your crew to be up & on air without too much troubles – and stay safe!

    September 1, 2008 at 6:13 pm |
  5. Nick Guillory

    I will be heading down there to cover the storm for my station (KOMU TV 8) for Mizzou...Im excited.

    September 1, 2008 at 5:27 pm |
  6. Cindy

    I saw many of your broadcasts today on CNN. I am amazed myself that they kept you up and on air seeing how much you were being blown around.

    They should have had you tied down along with that satellite seeing how it looked several times that you were going to be blown over the side of the building.


    September 1, 2008 at 4:50 pm |
  7. Rachael

    That a pretty cool idea.

    September 1, 2008 at 4:43 pm |