Discovery Channel Installs 446-Foot Inflatable Shark on World Headquarters in Silver Spring, MD

-- Giant Shark Kicks Off 23rd Annual SHARK WEEK --

Jul 15, 2010, 17:40 ET from Discovery Channel

SILVER SPRING, Md., July 15 /PRNewswire/ -- In celebration of Discovery Channel's SHARK WEEK, "Chompie" has returned to the Discovery Communications headquarters in Silver Spring, MD.  The giant inflatable shark is 446 feet long from his nose to his tail, and took 6.65 miles of fabric to make.  SHARK WEEK, cable's longest running event, celebrates its 23rd anniversary this year and kicks off on Sunday, August 1 at 9PM ET/PT with Ultimate Air Jaws.

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The making of the shark:

To make the shark, a scale model of the Discovery Communications building was created, providing accurate dimensions from which to work.  Individual scaled clay models of each shark piece were built, and pattern pieces were then derived.  The patterns were scanned into a computer program to create a file.  That file was sent to a digital fabric-cutting table, where a robot arm cut out each pattern piece and marked them by piece number and sewing direction.  After sewing was completed, a team of airbrush artists brought the shark to life, ensuring no detail was overlooked.

Fun Facts:

  • The shark is 446 feet long from the tip of his nose to the back of his tail, 113 feet tall from his belly to his dorsal fin, and 200 feet wide from tip to tip of his side fins.  If he were a real shark, he would weigh 84,000 pounds!

  • It took 11,720 yards of fabric to make the shark – that's 6.65 miles of fabric!  It also took 36.7 miles of thread and 3/4 of a mile of seat belt webbing to build the shark.  

  • It took an average of 1,280 man-hours per shark piece to sew the fabric together.  That's 6,400 hours!

  • Installation (by a professional rigging company) took two nights to complete.  

  • The five pieces (head, two side fins, dorsal fin and tail) were hoisted into place by a crane and tied down by cables and ropes.

SOURCE Discovery Channel