Olympic Flame in Flight

05 May 2008
Presented by Diana O'Carroll


What keeps the Olympic torch alight, in flight? To keep the Olympic spirit burning, it must need to travel on aeroplanes, but how do you keep a naked flame burning, while keeping other passengers safe? We find out from one of the designers of the Sydney Olympic Torch. Plus, we ask why earplugs seem to amplify your internal noises, and they may have all died out, just how long did a dinosaur live?

In this episode

Olympic Torch for the 2008 Summer Olympics passes through Stratford in London. Stratford will be a major location for the 2012 Summer Olympics.

00:00 - Olympic Torch In Flight?

How do they keep the Olympic flame alight whilst in flight?

Olympic Torch In Flight?

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 miners' lanterns. These miners' 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 miners' 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 miners' lanterns don't create any emissions. The fuel is a methylated spirits type flame to keep it burning, it won't create any risk to any other occupants. That's how they keep the flame alight on the aeroplane.


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