Question of the Week

Olympic Torch In Flight

Sun, 4th May 2008

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Graham Watson, South London asked:

It occurred to me when I was listening to the Olympic torch being discussed recently Ė how do you transport a naked flame on an aeroplane? It has to be a naked flame I think to conserve the Olympic spirit but even without the current security situation Iím sure it must be quite difficult. Itís obviously possible so I wondered how they did it.


Jordan Parham, part of the team that worked on the Sydney, Athens and Asian games torches.

How they keep the flame alight on aeroplanes and therefore continuous along the whole relay journey is in minersí lanterns. These minersí lanterns are specially designed to maintain a small flame alight in all wind conditions. They actually carry four of these lanterns at a minimum as back-up flames for the mother flame at all times during the relay. When they take the flames onto an aeroplane the minersí lanterns are approved prior to taking them on by the commercial airline or by the chartered airline, depending on how they run the relay. They are then stored in an appropriate vessel. In the case of the Sydney Olympics that was a specially designed seat and in other games such as Athens and the Asian games they used specially-designed storage racks on the side of the aeroplane. These minersí lanterns donít create any emissions. The fuel is a methylated spirits type flame to keep it burning, it wonít create any risk to any other occupants. Thatís how they keep the flame alight on the aeroplane.


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It does seem a lot of expense to go to for something that is merely symbolic. another_someone, Tue, 29th Apr 2008

It is just a propane torch which as been shown can easily be
extinguished as re-lit. So not a "real" torch then. What a waste
of time, money and fuel too. very un-ecological. rosalind dna, Tue, 29th Apr 2008

The same could be said of the Games, themselves. What does sport prove, anyway?
(Lights blue touch paper and retires. . . . . ) lyner, Fri, 2nd May 2008

<off to find a safe vantage point from where the outcome of this experiment can be observed>
LeeE, Sat, 3rd May 2008

I have already left the country and am living under an assumed name! lyner, Sun, 4th May 2008


Direct observation is required to confirm the science - and you run and hide. For Shame. JimBob, Wed, 7th May 2008

Well the lastest touch had to be frequently re-lighten, but I know this is not helpful Alan McDougall, Wed, 25th Jun 2008

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