Dubai-based flagpole experts to attempt two Guinness World Records on National Day

Trident Support aims for the largest flag ever flown and the largest flag flown behind a vehicle

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Story behind the UAE flag

The UAE flag was first unveiled on December 2, 1971, the day the UAE was formed. 

It was designed by Abdullah Mohammed Al Maainah, 19, an Emirati from Abu Dhabi. 

Mr Al Maainah said in an interview with The National in 2011 he chose the colours for local reasons. 

The black represents the oil riches that transformed the UAE, green stands for fertility and the red and white colours were drawn from those found in existing emirate flags.

Three skilled brothers from India are sitting behind heavy-duty industrial sewing machines, tirelessly stitching custom-sized UAE flags.

Soib, Ejaj, and Sabir Abdul Rasheed, some of the in-house tailors at Trident Support's manufacturing facility in Jebel Ali Free Zone, are stitching together the familiar pan-Arab coloured fabrics of green, white, black and red, which stand for Arabian unity.

When it's finished, the flag will enter the Guinness World Records for the largest one flown behind a vehicle at 450 square metres, one of two records the company will be part of on National Day.

“It will either be on Sheikh Zayed Road or somewhere else in another iconic location,” David Chambers, co-founder and managing director of Trident Support, told The National.

Quote
It's a fun record for us to do ... It's our gift back to the UAE for all the things we've gotten from the UAE for the past 25 years
David Chambers, Trident Support

“In front of us [on December 2] will be all the Dubai Police supercars and a motorcade of motorcycles.”

The flag, measuring 15 metres by 30m, will be flown off a vehicle with a Dubai Police logo,” Mr Chambers said.

Trident Support will look to break the current record, which was set in Kuwait when a 437 square metre flag was flown from a vehicle in 2019.

“We wanted to do it last year, but we got too busy and it slipped away from us,” he said.

“It's a fun record for us to do and we are not charging anybody. It's our gift back to the UAE for all the things we've gotten from the UAE for the past 25 years.”

The second record they will be involved with on National Day will take place at the 123-metre flagpole at the Etihad Museum in Jumeirah 1, Dubai.

A 37m by 74m (2,738 square metres) flag created by Trident will be placed on one of the UAE's tallest flagpoles, creating a record for the largest flag ever flown.

“We're going to take the smaller one down and fly a big one for only one day for the record. And then we'll take it down because it's too big for the flagpole to fly every day,” he said.

Record-breaking feats

David Chambers said their future plans include building the tallest flagpole in Thailand and Nigeria, but the development of new technology is their current focus.  Antonie Robertson / The National

Trident Support, which builds flagpoles and creates custom-made flags, started in 1996 when Mr Chambers, who has been living in the UAE for 26 years, and his friend Marc Summers saw a niche opportunity.

“Marc and I were in the defence logistics business in Abu Dhabi for about six years,” said Mr Chambers.

“We were doing work for a Sheikh. He (Sheikh) went to Mexico on vacation, came back and said to me 'Hey, I saw some big flagpoles in Mexico and I want to build one here in UAE'.”

Despite having no experience in flagpole making, as military experts they were exceptionally good at sourcing parts that are hard to find.

The tallest flagpole in the world at the time was 91.4m in Mexico and they decided to create a world record by building a 123m flagpole at Abu Dhabi's Marina Mall, which turned 20 last year.

Trident has continued its record-breaking feats with the tallest flagpoles in countries around the wider region, including Amman (127m), Aqaba (132m), Turkmenistan (133m), Tajikistan (165m) and Azerbaijan (162m).

They also built the tallest poles in Sharjah (Flag Island), Ras Al Khaimah, Ajman, Fujairah and Umm Al Quwain and made nearly every flag at Expo 2020 Dubai.

“Last year at Expo, outdoor and indoor flags came from our factory. We hired more tailors at the time,” he said.

New technology

Workers at Trident Support preparing flagpoles. Antonie Robertson / The National

Mr Chambers said their future plans include building the tallest flagpole in Thailand and Nigeria, but the development of new technology is their current focus.

They are working with textile experts 3M and Dimension-Polyant to develop new custom-built fabric for their flags made from durable material that is resistant to extreme weather.

“The outdoor flags are totally made from Oxford polyester fabrics which are durable and resistant to damage and provide sufficient UV protection, while the indoor flags are made from nylon,” he said.

While they will still be involved in future world record attempts, the focus will be on new ideas.

“Building the tallest flagpoles is not so interesting any more,” Mr Chambers said.

“We want to do new things that no one else has done before by using LED lights, better flags and flexible LED lights in the flags. Let’s say with the Azerbaijan flag, we can light up the star with LEDs.

“The Guinness World Record is not such a big thing for us any more, because if we focus only on that, we become only an employee of Guinness [world records] chasing the certificate. We don’t want to do that; we would rather build beautiful and perfect flagpoles.”

Updated: November 18, 2022, 1:26 PM
Story behind the UAE flag

The UAE flag was first unveiled on December 2, 1971, the day the UAE was formed. 

It was designed by Abdullah Mohammed Al Maainah, 19, an Emirati from Abu Dhabi. 

Mr Al Maainah said in an interview with The National in 2011 he chose the colours for local reasons. 

The black represents the oil riches that transformed the UAE, green stands for fertility and the red and white colours were drawn from those found in existing emirate flags.

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