|World record wall of flame|
The 2009 Yuma Air Show ended with a bang in the form of a world record 10,000 foot wall of flame. Video by Jared Dort and Janet Chasse
|Preparing for the air show|
So how is MCAS Yuma preparing to build the world record wall of flame for this weekend's air show and why? Video by Janet Chasse
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MCAS plans to blow away world record at air show
This year's Yuma Air Show on Saturday will end with an attempt by Marine Corps Air Station Yuma to break the world record for the longest wall of fire.
"It should be pretty impressive, with a lot of fire and heat," said said air station operations chief Master Sgt. Donald Hendricks. "It is the event to see."
And the tough task of figuring out how to verify whether the attempt resulted in a new world record has fallen upon the firm of Core Engineering Group of Yuma.
"That is something we have been scratching our head over for about a week, since we first got the project," said Douglas Nicholls of Core Engineering. "It is an out-of-the-box project."
Nicholls said his engineers will use standard trigonometry techniques to measure the wall's height and length. They also will have about eight to 10 employees on hand and four sets of surveying tools.
Hendricks said they originally planned on just beating the record by a few thousand feet, but since it was the air station's 50th anniversary, they decided to "do it big" and make the wall so long it won't ever be outdone.
If successful, MCAS Yuma will beat the current world record of roughly 6,636 feet, which was set in 2007 at an air show in Indianapolis, by nearly 3,000 feet.
Hendricks said the air station will try to create a wall of fire that stretches 10,000 feet - nearly two miles long - and would be 150 feet tall.
"You will hear an explosion and feel the concussion from the heat. If you don't, we didn't do our job."
The attempt will take several hours to set up, Hendricks said, beginning Thursday night or Friday morning. "We will be out there walking the length of the flightline marking the spots where the boxes will be placed."
Then on Saturday, beginning at 5 a.m., a crew of about 20 Marines will set up 800 boxes, each containing a four-gallon bag of gasoline, on those marked spots.
Assisting the air station in its world-record attempt will be the Commemorative Air Force's bomb squad, headed by Gordon Webb.
The CAF is performing a live re-enactment of the Dec. 7, 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor called "Tora, Tora Tora."
While the Marines are setting up the boxes of fuel, Hendricks said, CAF pyrotechnic experts will come along behind them setting up the explosives, blasting caps and 20,000 feet of detonator cords.
Marines have already cleared the area between the runways, where the wall is being ignited, of any brush or debris.
Something else special about the attempt, Hendricks said, is if successful, the Marine Corps will own the record again, having originally set it at the Miramar Air Show at Miramar Air Station in San Diego.
Hendricks added that the air station's 13,000 feet of flightlines makes it one of the longest in the world. Given that, he said, not many other places will be able to make a similar attempt.
"Guinness World Book of Records" guidelines for the wall say it must be continuous without gaps for at least five seconds. Flames must reach a minumum 130 feet.
James Gilbert can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6854.