39210 Rockets Fired Simultaneously
On Friday August 15th almost 40,000 rockets were fired simultaneously, at the press of a single button from the beach at St Aubin's bay, St Helier, Jersey at a little after 10pm.
The event was organised by pyrotechnist Terry McDonald of PyroMac Ltd (The Jersey Firework Company), following an idea to raise money for the charity Children In Need, by one of his empleyees, Mark LaRushe. The rocket shoot formed the finale after the famous Jersey Battle Of Flowers carnival's moonlight parade.
The event was filmed by the BBC, and should be transmitted as part of their record breakers programme on 21st November 1997.
The rockets were supported in trays consisting of two layers of chicken wire (to hold the sticks in an upright position), with just over 1000 rockets on each tray with their fuses resting on a layer of rawmatch. The trays were ignited electrically.
Of the 40,000 rockets loaded into the trays (an operation which took about 250 man hours, most notably by the crew of Peter Simon, Ian Rogan and Terry's own mother, who at 75 spent four days working at the tables!) only 790 remained in the trays after ignition. Even though most of these had burned out they were deemed misfires by the states treasurer, Mr George Baird (whose signature appears on the Jersey banknotes), and who officially adjudicated the record attempt.
Picure shows four trailers containing the 40,000 rockets ready on the beach, waiting for the tide to go out before being moved into position. The tables were then unloaded from the trailers and positioned in one line parallel to the spectators, about 200m from the sea wall.
Sam Woodward Pyrotechnics and Fireworks was pleased to supply the electronic controls and switching equipment for this event, as well as a complete FXM system for the grand firework display that followed.
The "Doom!" button moments before ignition, with BBC camera ready for action!
The previous day the Battle Of Flowers afternoon parade was closed with the simultaneous firing of a 3/4 mile front of confetti cannons, filled with flutter-fetti. The whole 3/4 mile front was ignited 'in one hit' using a custom control system that was deisned, built, and rigged by Sam Woodward Pyrotechnics and Fireworks. The effect was truly dramatic (and messy!), and I am glad to report a 100% success rate as all 58 cannons fired on cue.
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