As far as the eye can see

On a clear day you will be able to see 30 miles in any direction from what will be the largest Ferris wheel in the world and London’s fourth tallest structure.

The British Airways London Eye, to be located on the South bank of the Thames, will open to the public in January 2000. This impressive construction – which will surely rival the Dome as a tourist attraction – will consist of 1400ton of steel incorporated into a design which mimics a bicycle wheel. Carrying 32 self-levelling passenger capsules the wheel will be attached to the hub by cables under tension. With delivery of the wheel components already underway, the structure is being assembled horizontally on seven artificial islands on the Thames. It is expected to be winched erect during the coming couple of months.

The whole structure will rotate on two spherical roller bearings manufactured by FAG of Schweinfurt, Germany. The bearings, which will support around 1500ton, are believed to be the largest operating in the UK.

The bearings will be mounted as a locating/floating bearing arrangement into the hub (on the wheel axle). The locating bearing (with an outside diameter 2.66m) weighs 6.3ton and will be axially fixed on the axle, while the floating bearing (having an outside diameter of 2.62m) weighs 5.2ton and will move back and forth on the axle to compensate for linear expansion.