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WATCH: Bartle Hall 'Sky Station' Safely Returned To Kansas City Skyline

Julie Denesha
A Sikorsky S-64 Skycrane hovers above the 300-foot-tall pylons at Bartle Hall. The whimsical aluminum sculpture was successfully reunited with other 'Sky Stations' Sunday morning.

After a four-month absence, a 40-foot tall, 35-foot-wide, 24,000-pound aluminum sculpture by artist R.M. Fischer has returned to the top of its 300-foot-tall pylon at the Kansas City Convention Center.

One of four sculptures in Fischer's Sky Stations, the whimsical work known as the "hair curler" was removed back in May to repair damage from a lightning strike. A. Zahner Company collaborated with Fischer when he designed the sculptures in 1994.

This past summer, Kerry Butler, a welding specialist and foreman at Zahner, mended the damaged aluminum.

And on Sunday, the clear morning air was broken again by the thrumming of a Sikorsky S-64 Skycrane:

Sipping his morning coffee on a Summit Street overlook, Robert Setterburg joined a small crowd gathered to get a better view.

In 1993, Setterburg was a design architect for HNTB, an architecture, engineering and construction firm in charge of renovation and expansion of the Convention Center. He was on hand to see the sculpture first installed and has followed the repair process with interest.

“The only glitch the first time around was the ‘hair curler’ is in two pieces," Setterburg explained, "so they they put the bottom one on (first) and aligning the top one up is a little tricky. They had a little bit of trouble with that the first time they put it up, but I think they’ve worked through that. At least I hope they have.”

Apparently they had.

The Skycrane hovered over the skyline before lifting the aluminum sculpture into the air, while workers waited to secure it to the pylon. After a brief pause to refuel, both halves of the sculpture were reunited and the Skycrane flew off.

Julie Denesha is a freelance photographer and reporter for KCUR. Follow her @juliedenesha.

Julie Denesha is a freelance multimedia journalist based in Kansas City. Contact her at julie@kcur.org.
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