U.S. Border Patrol Faces Ever-increasing Challenges

Stretching more than 2,000 miles from California to Texas, the border between the US and Mexico is plagued with scorching sun and extreme heat. Border control historically has focused on preventing illegal immigrants and drugs from crossing into the US. With the rise of the cartels, gun and money trafficking out of the US is now a problem. Establishing new outbound checkpoints in the open under the blistering sun and within sight of prying eyes on the other side of the border was not an option.

Big Top at the Border

The US Border Patrol needed a flexible solution to cover and protect their inspectors at 17 different checkpoints along the border each with very unique and specific dimensions. They turned to Big Top. At locations such as San Ysidro, the busiest land port of entry in the world, the work was on active highways and logistically challenging. Installations were completed at night and mostly in remote locations. In a coordinated effort with Border Patrol, Big Top was able to complete all 17 structures within a year and half and now cover the outbound checkpoints keeping the officers out of the sun and the inspections out of sight.

Direct Sunlight Heats Up Aircraft and Damages Equipment

Decades ago AV-8B Harriers dotted the flight line at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma. In the blazing hot Arizona sun window canopy temperatures reached a staggering 198°F and pilots entering the aircraft would be greeted by seat temperatures at a startling (or butt frying) 168°F. For both pilot safety and performance it was clear that the aircraft needed to be covered. And this is where the Big Top relationship with the US military began.

The Big Top Flight Line

Now, under Big Top fabric structures window canopies are 125°F and the seats are a manageable 98°F. The program was such a success the story spread. Big Top structures can now be found covering aircraft at China Lake NB, Edwards AFB, Moody AFB and Eglin AFB, to name a few. And, as a nod to their confidence in the structures the USAF chose Big Top to cover the 33rd Fighter Squadron’s elite F-35’s adding a full year to their paint cycle.