UAE | General

How an Aston Martin landed on Burj Al Arab

Bond favourite makes breathtaking landing on 1,000-foot high Burj helipad to mark its 100 years – and it cost ‘just Dh700,000’ to do that

  • By Sharmila Dhal, 
Senior Reporter
  • Published: 20:46 January 23, 2013
  • XPRESS

  • Image Credit: Supplied photo
  • The great spectacle in the sky: The 1,700kg car, lifted from Skydive Dubai using special ropes, sailed over the New Dubai skyline and Arabian Gulf as it headed for Burj Al Arab
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Dubai: For a car that prides itself on its ‘understated elegance’, Aston Martin chose to mark a ‘centenary spectacular’ in Dubai last week.

The premium auto brand – which launched its new Dubai dealership last month – created a world first by airlifting its flagship model Vanquish atop the iconic Burj Al Arab. The filmed event – released on YouTube – became the talk of the town and was seen as an ultimate tribute to ultimate luxury. The video has had over 250,000 hits so far.

But behind the car’s dramatic landing on the hotel’s 1,000-foot high helipad was an equally precise and painstaking preparation spanning several months.

“We were doing something no one had done before. So permissions were complex and there were a number of technical issues to be overcome,” Neil Slade, General Manager of Aston Martin Middle East, told XPRESS.

“For starters, the Burj Al Arab’s helipad is one of the most difficult for landing as the wind goes round and round. In our case, it wasn’t just a helicopter that was landing – it was lifting a 1,700kg car as well. We had a special rope lifting each corner of the car and when it landed, the ground crew had to get hold of the ropes in time and stop the car from spinning round and round,” said Slade.

Earlier, repeated checks were conducted to test the strength of the ropes, the hooks and the balance. The car had to be lifted from Skydive Dubai, near Dubai Marina.

The 30-minute gala entailed 40 ground crew, three helicopters – one for airlifting and two for filming – and 600 guests. It cost Aston Martin a whopping Dh700,000, of which Dh367,000 went for insurance alone.

But as Slade said, the money was well worth the spend as the Burj Al Arab was the ultimate icon for Aston Martin.

“For us, the Burj Al Arab is the Eiffel Tower of the Middle East. There is a very strong association between Aston Martin and the Middle East. When you buy an Aston Martin, you know it is from a Middle East owned-company and you know you are buying into ultimate luxury.”

Slade said the Vanquish has a powerful 570 BHP engine, a specially designed chassis and carbon-fibre skin which allows for a unique shape and aerodynamics. The base price is Dh1.3 million.

For a video of Aston Martin’s centenary spectacular, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-pJ2XaKu2o

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