x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

The biggest and the best... all for our big day

National Day is the perfect day to fly the flag - and what a flag.

The world's largest aerial banner, of the UAE flag, will be flown across Abu Dhabi today.
The world's largest aerial banner, of the UAE flag, will be flown across Abu Dhabi today.

ABU DHABI // National Day is the perfect day to fly the flag - and what a flag. The Falcon Aviation Services (FAS) will take to the skies today, the UAE's 37th anniversary, trailing the largest aerial banner in the world - a national flag of the UAE measuring more than 50,000 square feet that can be seen from up to 20 kilometres away. It will be flown across the capital starting about 2pm and will do four laps of the city, taking about two hours.

It takes a ground crew of 12 people 40 minutes to lay the flag on the ground and attach it to the FAS Bell 412 helicopter that will be towing it. The helicopter team used the flag during last year's National Day celebrations to break the world record for the largest aerial banner ever flown. Sponsored jointly by FAS, Marina Mall and the Abu Dhabi International Marine and Sports Club, the idea for the flag came from Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan and Captain Salem Al Kayoumi, chairman of FAS.

Later tonight, an attempt to break the world's record of the largest and most elaborate firework display will also take place. The 45-minute show is part of a line-up of events organised by the Emirates Palace hotel and the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage, and will start at 8.30pm. It will be visible along the new public beach on the Corniche and across the Emirates Palace Marina. Tonight's show will be synchronised with the national anthem, and repeat displays are planned for Wednesday and Thursday at 9pm.

The UAE's biggest greetings card, standing 7.5m tall, is on show inside the Emirates Palace hotel. Signed by guests, it is addressed to Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, and his family and is to be delivered to the Presidential Palace as a gift. @Email:hkhalaf@thenational.ae