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September 11, 1999


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Team Bigfoot brought their Monster Truck elite to Smyrna Airport on September 11, 1999 to participate in the Tennessee Aviation Days Air Show.  Eric Tack made the trip with the BF15 Firestone Wilderness, and Dan Runte was on hand to pilot BF14.  They shared billing with The Thunderbirds and the Red Baron Squadron during the five hour event.  In the end, the Monsters ruled the sky.  Runte was on a mission.
FSW1.jpg (28509 bytes) Just before the Thunderbirds took to the sky for the Air Show finale, the two Bigfoot trucks fired up their engines, and headed toward the end of the runway, where a retired Boeing 727 lay stretched out on the ground.   Eric Tack got the crowd warmed up with some nice, although brief,  freestyle in Firestone Wilderness.  After  finishing his run in front of the plane, Eric climbed up to the top of the truck to wave to the crowd while it cruised along on autopilot.  He then yielded the field to Captain Runte and BF14.
Dan Runte fired up the big Ford, and stood poised to make history at the approach to the plane.  It just didn't look possible for a 10,000 lb Monster Truck to jump that huge jet airliner.  In a flash, Runte put the hammer down, and launched his machine into a dirt ramp at incredible speed.  The truck came off the ramp with so much height, it appeared to be in suspended animation as it literally flew high over the plane.  It landed with unbelievable force, leaning hard to the right at first, then back to the left on the second bounce.  Somehow, Dan Runte kept the truck from going over. BFJump.jpg (62694 bytes)
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What goes up, must come down.  And, when BF14 hit the ground, Dan Runte had left his old long jump record of 144' 10" in the Tennessee dirt.  The jump over the 727 jet was measured at an unbelievable 202'!   The truck and the driver were hurting, but that didn't stop Runte from driving gingerly back up in front of the crowd to take his bows.  The jump was made even more spectacular when explosives were set off remotely just after I snapped the jump shot above.  Bob Chandler was there to take it all in.
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You da man, Dan!!!

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Damage Report

The record-shattering jet jump was not without sacrifice.   Dan Runte suffered a sore back from the hard landing.  BF14 ended up with a bent and broken frame, two bent wheels, a bent tie rod, and some body damage.  Eric Tack jumped the plane in Firestone Wilderness on Sunday, but took it easy for the sake of man and machine.  He jumped 148'.  Good enough to beat the old record, but far short of Runte's new one.  Personally, I think that one will stand for awhile.

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