Unofficially, the KC Flight Formation Team believes it has set a Guinness Book of World Records mark for the largest civilian aircraft formation.
Officially, what is known is that the 49 pilots that flew over Arrowhead Stadium prior to the Kansas City Chiefs’ Oct. 13 contest against the Oakland Raiders and raised $30,000 for the University of Kansas Hospital’s cancer center.
“We hit our goal of $30,000,” said Phillip Lamb, president and one of the founders of the KC Flight Formation Team, “and, I don’t know how we did it. We met with the Chiefs back in July and they got kind of cold feet on this large formation flight. That kind of shut us down, so we didn’t do any fund raising for about six weeks. Then we showed them all of our safety records and our training manuals and they give us the clear.
“So we started fund raising again and we only had about three or four weeks left. Sunday when we announced what we had, it was about $25,000. Then an individual came to Lee’s Summit Municipal Airport and anonymously donated $5,000 and helped us reach the goal. It’s incredible. It really is. We couldn’t think of a better cause.”
The formation, in the shape of an arrowhead, was a part of KC Flight’s annual Breast Cancer Awareness Month fundraiser. Pilots practiced for the flight Oct. 11 and a silent auction and raffle ticket drawing featuring Chiefs cheerleaders, the team’s mascot, KC Wolf, and two practice flights took place the following day at Lee’s Summit Municipal Airport, the formation team’s hub.
“Our role at the airport is to support activities like this which benefits the community as a whole” said John Ohrazda, the airport’s manager. “There were 49 airplanes and you had (pilots) from 19 different states. The airport acts as a gateway to the city at times for aviators. So we rolled out the carpet for them. Whether it was good places in Lee’s Summit to eat, things to do in Lee’s Summit; we were able to arrange transportation for them – any positive image for them and they see Lee’s Summit as a place they want to come back to.”
Lamb said the team planned for months to break the formation record, and it strategically tied its breast cancer awareness campaign with the NFL’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month campaign as well as a Chiefs fan club’s attempt to break the record for loudest outdoor stadium in the world.
The loudest stadium in the world record was broken by Chiefs fans and verified on the spot by an adjudicator with Guinness Book of World Records hired by the Chiefs. The fee for the adjudicator: Nearly $8,000, Lamb said.
The new record by Chiefs fans reached 137.5 decibels to top the 136.6 decibels set by the Seattle fans Sept. 16.
“It is an unofficial record,” Lamb said of the Guinness civilian formation record. “It will take about 6 to 8 weeks for Guinness to review the video and witness statements and hopefully award us our world record. It would have cost us $8,000 to have someone from Guinness on hand to give us the instant record. We wanted the money to go to the University of Kansas Hospital. We’re the cheap guys that didn’t want to give money to Guinness. We’d rather give it to the University of Kansas Hospital. I’m sorry to say that, but we felt like, as a group, that was the best place for it to go.”