If you tuned in Thursday September 17th at 7 p.m. PST to H2 History Channel, you would have been hard pressed to miss Pocket Radar featured on the Season 3 Finale of “Stan Lee’s Superhumans.” The Pocket Radar Classic model was the speed measurement tool of choice capturing Joel King on his super-powered skateboard as he raced down an air strip near the Bonneville Salt Flats at speeds over 100 MPH. If you haven’t seen the television series, here is a description from the show’s website: About “Stan Lee’s Superhumans”
“Hosted by Stan Lee, co-creator of some of the most iconic comic book superheroes of all time, like Spiderman and the X-Men, this incredible third season of the hit H2 series goes in search of more real people with extraordinary powers. In each episode, Stan Lee explores a single theme that inspired his comic book creations–including fear, super-strength, genetic mutation and immunity to pain. To investigate each theme, Stan sends rubber-boy Daniel Browning-Smith (the World’s Most Flexible Man) on a global search to test the claims of four individuals–all rumored to have these real-life comic-book powers–to find out if they really are…Superhuman.”
When we were first contacted by the production crew, they wanted to see if we could help them out with another segment on the episode, featuring a whip. After a long discussion about radar and speed measurements to let them know it isn’t possible to measure the speed an object like a whip with a radar gun, they let us know about Joel’s segment, and it was a perfect fit. They said they were excited to get us involved with measuring how fast Joel could get his super-powered skateboard going.
Chris Stewart, President and co-founder of Pocket Radar, then flew out to meet with the crew in Salt Lake City and started the trek out to the world famous Bonneville Salt Flats near the Utah / Nevada border. There were several challenges along the way.
The airport security at Heathrow cleared the jet engine for the skateboard to fly to the states, but the security people at the Dallas airport did not like the idea so they had to ship it overnight by truck which turned out to be more like 2 day shipping and they were a bit rough on the equipment. The crew drove through pouring rain the whole way and were praying that the Salt Flats were not in the rainy area. After hours of driving it became apparent that they were not going to be so lucky.
They quickly moved the initial part of the filming over to the local airport at Wendover and started to assemble the skateboard and mount the jet engine. There was a lot of re-engineering along the way to fix the damage from the shipping and deal with the difference in UK propane nozzles and US propane nozzles. By the next day the jet was tuned up and running great and the airport taxi area was nice and dry. Unfortunately the Salt Flats were still under 3 inches of water. They held out hope that it would dry out by the following day and set off to do the initial test runs at the Wendover airport.
There were several Pocket Radar Classic models setup at points along the track to measure the speeds. After several successful runs, Joel felt like he was ready to film the drag race with Daniel in the Mustang. Unfortunately, just then the glow plug that is used to ignite the jet engine went out. The spare Joel had brought with him from the UK turned out to be the wrong thread. Just when it looked like they were going to be completely out of luck, they came across a family out for the day doing some R/C racing in the desert. Many thanks to the Corbridge family from West Valley City who donated their last glow plug to the effort and got Joel back up and running again.
When the film crew finally got everything set up for the race it was amazing to see what kinds of speeds Joel could reach on those tiny skateboard wheels. Of course, everyone was completely terrified watching the crash and very relieved when they found out Joel was fine. Unfortunately the damage to the jet engine prevented any further runs.
Since they only had a 1/4 mile track at the Wendover airport, it limited the top speed Joel could reach. They had groomed a very nice 2 mile track on the Bonneville Salt Flats that would have given him a real shot at finding out the true top speed. The rain prevented any runs on the salt this time around, but Joel tells us that he still wants to come back someday and hit that 150 MPH speed.
Pocket Radar was very excited to be there and help sponsor Joel’s run. We are looking forward to being part of the next attempt.
If you have any questions or would like to share your Pocket Radar stories, please give is a call toll-free at 888-381-2672 from 9 AM to 5 PM Pacific Time, or e-mail us at info@PocketRadar.com
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