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  • Falcon Field celebrates historic photo installation on tower

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    February 22, 2019
    The Valley may have a new tallest man with installation of a giant photographic portrait on the air traffic control tower at Mesa’s Falcon Field Airport.

    A brief ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. Monday, Feb. 25 to dedicate the photo of 1940s cadet pilot Oswaldo Interiano and to celebrate the installation of nine additional historical photos around the airfield. Static aircraft displays, a fly-over by historic warbird aircraft, and refreshments will be included. 
    “This photograph is the latest project in the Airport’s Historic Zone that we’re installing to honor Falcon Field’s and Mesa’s history and the important role they played in pilot training during World War II,” Airport Director Corinne Nystrom said. “They make a striking and unique addition to our facility’s aesthetic.”

    The dedication ceremony will be held on the lawn east of the terminal building (4800 E. Falcon Drive, Mesa, AZ, 85215) on the north side of the tower. Parking is available in front of the airport terminal, then follow the sidewalk on the east side of the terminal to the lawn. The event will also feature flyovers by historic World War II-era aircraft from the Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum and static aircraft displays by the Warbirds Unlimited Foundation Inc. Refreshments will be served.

    The monumental project involved a photo printing technique on sticky vinyl. Enlarging a grainy 3-inch tall by 1-inch wide photo to 38 feet tall and 18’ wide, and still having it recognizable, was thought to be nearly impossible. It was said that it would have been easier to enlarge a postage stamp to the size of Rhode Island!
    Undaunted, the team reached out to numerous experts from across the U.S. in the digital photo-imagery profession involving companies or individuals from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); Grand Canyon University; Seattle, WA; San Francisco, CA; Santa Maria, CA; and the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) team from Engineering Services at the City of Mesa. 

    The final product is the result of hours of computer processing and hundreds of emails, telephone calls and personal outreach to anyone who might be able to give the team advice or technical assistance. 

    The tower wrap project team included representatives of the City of Mesa, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), CORE Construction, A&M Graphics, and Mark Velasquez Photography. 

    To view a brief video of the photograph application to the air traffic control tower, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fputapeBrc