WORLD RECORD JUMP!
September 11, 1999
AVIATION DAYS AIR SHOW
|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.
||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.
|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.
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.