News: Strongman breaks record in preparation for 'Wings Over McConnell'
Story by Airman 1st Class Katrina Brisbin
MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Strongman Mark Kirsch teams up with the U.S. Air Force to perform his man vs. jumbo jet stunt as part of the "Pulls for the Troops" tour. On Sept. 26, 2012, Kirsch performed a pull for local media to promote the Wings Over McConnell Open House and Air Show which will take place Sept. 29 and 30.
"It started with a dream," said Kirsch. "I wanted to be the first person in the world ever to do this, so I worked hard."
Inspired by Bob Hope to entertain troops and honoring America's heroes, Kirsch demonstrates feats of strength as he physically pulls aircraft.
"I feel that our service men and women don't have enough entertainers, celebrity and athletes doing enough to say thank you," said Kirsch. "This is my way."
Kirsch works out five to six hours daily to maintain his strength and to continue to hold his title of the strongest man on earth. As a teenager Kirsch described himself as too skinny. Now at six feet and four inches and weighing 320 pounds, Kirsch pulls planes as big as the Boeing 767.
To pull the plane, he straps a harness to his chest and then fastens himself the aircraft with a polyester rope. A second longer rope is anchored to the concrete approximately 100 feet in front of him. Then using what he calls "explosivity" he pulls himself along the rope, pulling the plane along with him.
Kirsch may be the one pulling the plane, but he doesn't work alone. A team composed of six airmen assist him. They do various duties from pulling the chalks to pushing the break when momentum builds.
"It was really impressive to see him pull the jet," said Airman Joseph Swartz, 22nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief. "The amount of torque he generates is incredible."
On Sept. 26, Kirsch pulled the 152,000 pound KC-135 Stratotanker 120 feet, breaking his personal record. He will do his "Pulls for the Troops" again on Sept. 29 and 30 at 11 a.m. for the Wings over McConnell Open House and Air Show.
The air show is free and open to the public.
For more information about the Air Show, visit: