Restorer hopes to bring loudest siren to air show
http://www.bayofplentytimes.co.nz/local ... w/3941959/
The world's loudest siren could display its awesome power at next year's Tauranga Air Show if its owner can attract enough financial support to ship it from Los Angeles.
Daniel French, formerly of Tauranga, has restored a Chrysler Air Raid Siren manufactured during the 1950s Cold War era to warn Americans of incoming Soviet missiles.
Mr French restores military vehicles at the American Military Museum near Los Angeles and would love to introduce New Zealanders to the bone-shaking power of the 138 decibel V8-powered siren.
"They are the loudest - nothing else comes near it."
He takes it to air shows and Chrysler shows in America where it always attracts a lot of interest and he predicted the siren would be a real crowd pleaser at New Zealand air shows.
The key was safe distances because the siren was so powerful it would seriously harm anyone who strayed in front of the bank of sirens.
"It's like something is pushing on your chest."
The 331 cubic inch FirePower Hemi engine blows 2600 cubic feet of air a minute into a giant rotor, with the compressed air screaming out at an exit velocity of nearly 650km/h through six giant horns.
"The ground shakes and dust falls from things around you.
The noise and vibrations are incredible. The original manual says that under no circumstances should any part of the human body get in front of the siren."
Mr French said that the last time he ran it, a man standing 15m behind the siren noticed the water vibrating in his water bottle
Two sirens could alert the entire Mount Maunganui-Papamoa coastal strip to an incoming tsunami. Its range in calm conditions was officially 6.4km and a bit of wind increased its range to up to 40km. His siren at ground level has been heard 11km away.
Tauranga Air Show organiser David Love said it sounded like a good idea, particularly if it toured other New Zealand air show to offset costs.
"We are interested," he said.
Mr French said he was a big Chrysler fan and enthusiasts absolutely loved it. Older Americans were sentimental about the siren because they were raised with the wail of the sirens doing weekly tests throughout the Cold War.
The restoration was right down to the last nut and bolt and his tour includes historic memorabilia about the siren, including advertisements.
Only a few hundred were manufactured and many were scrapped after the Soviet threat subsided. They sat exposed to the weather on towers for many years.
Mr French, 42, has caught the siren bug and has started restoring a Chrysler Bell Victory siren from the 1940s. His parents live in Otumoetai.
I need an emoticon of someone covering their ears.