Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
The 133-metre flag in Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan, currently holds the record for the world's tallest. Trident support in Jebel Ali built the structure.
The 133-metre flag in Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan, currently holds the record for the world's tallest. Trident support in Jebel Ali built the structure.

Dubai wants tallest flagpole

A record-breaking 200-metre flagpole could be built in Dubai by the man who has just finished constructing what is currently the world's tallest.

A record-breaking 200-metre flagpole could be built in Dubai by the man who has just finished constructing what is currently the world's tallest. David Chambers, whose company Trident Support is based in Jebel Ali, is negotiating with an unnamed major organisation over the project.

If the plans get the go-ahead and the structure is erected early next year, it would be the second time that the UAE has held the record for the tallest flagpole. The 123-metre flagpole on Abu Dhabi seafront, also built by Mr Chambers, was the tallest unsupported flagpole in the world when completed in 2002. Mr Chambers, an American, has just built a 133-metre pole in Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan, which - for now, at least - is the record-holder.

The foundations are made up of a circle of concrete four metres thick and about 20 metres in diameter, from which at least 10 concrete piles stretch 20 metres into the ground. The construction of the Turkmenistan flagpole, which carries the country's national flag, "went beautifully", said Mr Chambers. "We had a couple of delays due to crane availability, but then everything went great." The Ashgabat structure will hold the record for only a few weeks, however, as Mr Chambers will soon erect a flagpole in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, that is 162 metres tall.

Just seven years ago, the record-holder, a flagpole in Vancouver, Canada, was little more than half this height, at 86 metres. Assembly in Baku has been delayed because at a late stage it was decided to paint the flagpole bronze instead of white. "All the sections are on site but the paint they want is very special and it has to be brought from outside," Mr Chambers said by telephone from the construction site in Baku.

"We shipped all the white paint in our containers and started to paint, but at the last stage the president decided they should paint it a bronze colour. I've sent everyone home." Assembly should start in about two weeks and if the weather is favourable - winds must remain below 12 metres per second, or 43kph - assembly will take a further fortnight. "We're quite concerned about upper lifts," Mr Chambers said. "With the lower section it's OK, but when you get up to the top it begins to swing and we want to be careful."

The list of flagpoles Mr Chambers has created is a roll call of the world's tallest. His first contract was to build a 100-metre flagpole in Bahrain and then, six years ago, he created the flagpole on Abu Dhabi seafront that flies the UAE flag. After that he built a 126-metre flagpole in Amman, Jordan, followed by a 130-metre structure in Aqaba, Jordan. According to Mr Chambers, the limit on the height of flagpoles is imposed by the difficulty of erecting them, rather than engineering.

Structures as tall as 400 metres are theoretically possible, but the size of the cranes used to lift the sections into place imposes a limit of about 220 metres. Beyond this, potentially hazardous helicopter lifts have to be attempted. Mr Chambers said finding a crane in Dubai big enough to lift the proposed 200-metre flagpole would not be a problem. "The crane is not an issue in Dubai because some of the biggest cranes in the world are in Dubai," he said.

"It's in the third-world countries we struggle because they don't have 2,000-tonne cranes, but in Dubai they are a dime a dozen. Also, we don't have to transport things that far, so it's very easy for us." Trident Support's flagpoles are made in 12-metre sections from plates of steel up to 50mm thick. A Jebel Ali subcontractor carries out the steelwork, while the flags, which weigh about 400kg, are made from polyester or nylon by suppliers in Dubai. Several flags are made for each flagpole and changed monthly for repairs.

The tallest supported flagpole in the world is in North Korea and sits on a pylon 160 metres high. @Email:dbardsley@thenational.ae

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 An tenant in the Al Barsha area of Dubai has been sent a non-renewable contract by the landlord. Randi Sokoloff / The National

Dubai landlord refuses to pay back Rera fees after losing rent case

Keren Bobker helps a tenant who wants to know how to reclaim his RERA case fees and who has also been sent a contract with a “one-year nonrenewable” note.

 A Brabus Mercedes 6x6 Sports Utility Vehicle is readied for display during Auto China 2014 in Beijing, on April 20. Adrian Bradshaw / EPA

In pictures: Auto China 2014 exhibition

Leading automakers have gathered in Beijing for the kickoff of China’s biggest car show, but lacklustre growth and environmental restrictions in the world’s largest car market have thrown uncertainty into the mix. More than 1,100 vehicles are being showcased.

 A customer looks at a large mock-up of videogame console Game Boy.  Yoshikazu Tsuno / AFP Photo

Nintendo’s Game Boy at 25: hand-held legacy lives on

Nintendo’s trailblazing Game Boy marks its 25th anniversary Monday with the portable device’s legacy living on in cutting-edge smartphone games and among legions of nostalgic fans.

 Ashish Nehra of Chennai Super Kings bowls to Kings XI Punjab at Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National

Hard-hitting Chennai not deterred by opening loss in IPL

But some questions remain about the team's attack ahead of Monday's match against Delhi Daredevils in Abu Dhabi, writes Osman Samiuddin.

 A projectionist takes a break in the projection room at Ariana Cinema in Kabul, Afghanistan. Going to the movies, once banned under the Taliban, has become a popular form of entertainment in Kabul, but women and children rarely take part. All photos by Photo by Jonathan Saruk / Reportage by Getty Images

Afghan cinema: Forbidden Reel

The lights go down and the projector whirls into action as Sher Mohammed, 35, begins his routine, bouncing back and forth between two projectors, winding reels, and adjusting the carbon arc lamps inside the projectors.

 Business class seats inside the Emirates Airbus A380. Chip East / Reuters

In it for the long haul: flying 16 hours with Emirates to LA

Our executive travel reviewer tries out the business class offering on Emirates' longest A380 route - and finds time passing quickly.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National