Tuesday, April 30, 2013

One thing for certain, you can't tread on this flag display. Click here so see how it was done!

Do you want to become a flag flyer? Have you flown a flag for years and want an upgrade? This is a fantastic place to start! Don't take it from us, but take it from the California resident, in his own words.

Being a flag flyer is a commitment. Recently, we discussed problems he ran into with the flag flipping over the eagle, but there is always a way to have a system or setup that works great for your location. We like to say getting a flagpole is a process. Once you learn the process, you will become a flagpole expert, able to do the entire project yourself (with a few extra guys), and you will gain a permanent asset.

We received an email sometime back from this flag flyer who watched our video on flagpole foundation sleeves. This is a part of a four-part series. Click on any link in the list below to watch the video:
  1. FlagDesk.com | Guidelines for Proper Flagpole Placement 
  2. FlagDesk.com | How To Install A Flagpole Foundation Sleeve
  3. FlagDesk.com | How To Assemble And Raise A Commercial Flagpole  
  4. FlagDesk.com | How to Fly a Flag: Proper Flag Raising Ceremony 
When we made these videos, we were trying to give people an idea that flagpole installation was something anyone can do. It is a great project which brings people together. We thought, by showing others the techniques we use and problems we run into, we could help other flag flyers fly flags.

This California Flag Flyer got the message. So much so, he documented his entire installation with images and notes. When I opened the link to his gallery, my mouth dropped. The entire flag flying community can benefit from seeing how he installed his flagpole. Take a look!



We ask everyone this. Why do you fly the flag?

We fly the flag because we are proud Americans.  We see the flag as our visible support for a strong nation, unified by patriotism, and a historical beacon of liberty and prosperity.

How long have you been a flag flyer? What is your history of flag flying?

My parent’s got their first flag pole in the mid-70s, and growing up, flying the flag was something I was very proud of.  In particular I remember looking forward to special days like Memorial Day and July 4th; setting the flag as half-staff was an important duty.  When I bought my first house it did not have a yard that was large enough for a flag pole, but when we moved in 1998 I finally had a place with space and visibility to have my own pole.  I started off with a 20 foot Homesteader sectional just like my parents with a 4x6 US flag only.  After 9/11, I wanted to upgrade to a commercial pole and fly a larger flag, but we always put it off.  I ended up putting off the purchase for another 11 years before I upgraded to the Atlas pole that we have now.  I can tell you that was a mistake putting it off, as we love our 30 foot Atlas pole!

From your informational page and gallery, you are flying the US flag, the Gadsden flag, and you are looking to also fly the California flag. Have you found people respond to different flags on the pole with the US flag?

Up until 2012 we had only flown a 4x6 US flag as our old Homesteader pole was not strong enough to handle more than one flag, or even a bigger US flag.  One of the best things about upgrading is that we now have options to fly larger flags (5x8 and 6x10) and more than one if we choose.  We currently fly the Gadsden as a thoughtful statement about freedom and our concern over the growing regulation of our lives and the expanding dependence of people on government at local, state, and federal levels.  Given the high profile location, not everyone has been as enthusiastic about the Gadsden, but there are several in the general area who fly this flag combination.  We hope that when people see the Gadsden they think about personal independence and limited role for government in our lives.  As lifelong Californians, we also want to show our civic pride by occasionally flying the California flag.  It is nice to have the option of flying different flags as people will definitely notice when you change them.

Homesteader Flagpole
You've had the Homesteader for 12 years. Did you have any noticeable problems managing the pole? Did you have have to change out sections?

The Homesteader is a good value in a basic pole.  Our pole never required any maintenance beyond the occasional rope replacement.  It is still fully usable and looks good, but its main drawback is its lack of strength as high winds would make the pole bow.  Due to local weather conditions, high winds can start overnight, which normally meant that I would have to get up and pull the pole out of the ground section and lay it down to keep it from being damaged.  A neighbor who also has a Homesteader has a pole that is permanently bent because it was left up during high winds.  If you treat the pole with respect a Homesteader will last a long time, as our pole is still in good shape and I may use it to make a lighted Christmas tree during the holidays.

You chose a great model flagpole for your area and did your homework. So, for someone who is looking to do this job, are there any pitfalls or snags you might suggest someone lookout for?

I spent years thinking about this purchase and reading what I could online.  In some ways there aren’t a lot of web sites with information and testimonials about flag poles. When we were looking for a pole our main criteria were: 1) ability to fly a 5x8 US flag, 2) the strength to stand up to the high winds since we could not take it down, and 3) brushed satin appearance with an eagle on top.  We also did height tests with the old Homesteader that was very helpful, as we realized that a 25 foot pole would be too short given the flag dimensions that we were looking at and obstructions like a glass wall that would be directly below the pole.  While most people don’t have a spare flag pole lying around, we found that it was an important experiment to look at the visual impact and placement in order to make an informed decision.

Your Flag Desk site and video certainly helped a lot, as I must have watched to video a dozen times to understand every detail on how to set the flagpole sleeve.  Not only was your site our guide to installing the pole, but I also researched different types of poles and finishes and learned about the revolving truck from your information online.

The only caution I would share with others is that we didn’t fully consider the impact of the glass wall being located right below the pole.  When the winds occasionally blow directly into the wall it forces the wind straight up, which has made the flags flip over the top.  This happened a few times with our 6x10, and in one particularly strong wind, the flag punctured and became stuck on both of the eagle’s wings.  To fix this, we had to pay to have a professional come out and climb up to the top on a ladder and release the flag.  From our experience, it appears that a 6x10 is much more likely to get wrapped around the pole.  We have now switched back to a 5x8 flag and replaced with eagle with a ball ornament to provide less of a chance that the flag will get caught should it flip over again.  If I ever have a chance to put up another pole, I will certainly consider the impact of any structures and how it could redirect the wind.

How were you able to find the zoning laws around the max height your flagpole could be? Did you start there, or did your find that out later?

Before I purchased I knew that I had better check with the city to make sure that I would not violate any zoning or set back requirements.  The planning department was very helpful in that they said that a pole up to 30 feet would be allowed.  The setback requirements were such that the pole also had to be located far enough away from the neighbor’s structures so that it could not fall on to any buildings that were not on our property. The Eder flagpole footing diagrams are available online, and I submitted those as the construction diagrams for the building permit.  The city also required that the base of the footing be “5 feet to daylight”.  That term means that if I measured from the base of the footing to the edge of the bluff the distance must be 5 feet.  All of these factors did limit our location choices, but it actually worked out well in the end. 

Probably the most difficult thing for flying flags is lighting them at night. Can you tell us the a little bit more about your lighting system, model light/bulb?

Your question is right on the mark, as finding the right light was a challenge that took years of trial and error and three light fixtures before I found the right one.  Other than the pole choice, this is the second most important item and what I have in place works very well.  The keys are to: 1) wet location fixture with glass lens cover, 2) use a spot light bulb, 3) shielding on the fixture controls glare with the neighbors, and 4) dusk-to-dawn photocell.  This fixture uses a PAR20 bulb and we have switched to an LED spotlight that uses just 9.5 watts but is rated at 50 watts and should last 5 years.  It was relatively easy to run electricity out of the attic and mount this setup to the fascia board.

The Flagpole looks very visible from the road. Have you had any comments?

The pole is very visible from a major interstate freeway that carries around 9,000 vehicles per hour during peak times.  Even if only a small percentage of people look up, it would still be seen by thousands of people every day.  We know from friends and family that is almost like an involuntary reflex that people tend to always look to see the flag and we hear about it if the flags are down (usually for rain and high winds).  While they had to look closely to see our old Homesteader, our Atlas and 5x8 US flag are very easy to see.