Keeping The Flag Flying

How Does a Flag Pole Work?

Flag poles are a great way of displaying pride for any specific group, state or country. The major challenge for flag poles is the ability to handle the elements. This article will explain how a flag pole's construction raises a flag and keeps it flying no matter the weather.

Flag Pole Construction

Flag poles can be anywhere from a few feet to 100 feet in length. The actual pole is divided into sections for assembly, depending on the height. Flag poles between 30 and 35 feet can come in two sections, whereas flag poles beyond 40 feet are made from three to five sections.This adds sturdiness and flexibility to a pole to keep it from collapsing during high winds. Flag poles can be made of aluminum, steel, Plexiglass or fiberglass.

Selecting the right material for your flag pole largely depends on the wind speeds typical in your area and the purpose of the pole. Aluminum flag poles are usually used for commercial displays, while fiberglass poles are best for boats, homes and side-wall mounts, according to To fly flags on top of skyscrapers and other tall buildings, flagpoles are made of steel.

Flag pole mounting is just as important as the construction of the pole. Flag poles are usually mounted inside a pole sleeve at a depth three times the diameter of the pole. The sleeve is surrounded by cement and sealed to prevent water damage and rust.

Raising and Lowering Flags

Flag poles with external raising assemblies work by using a system of halyards, ropes and pulleys. The halyard, made of nylon or polyester, is rigged onto the pulleys, also known as the halyard truck assembly. The halyard also has two hooks affixed to it, one for each of the flag's grommets. The pole also has fixtures known as cleats to store excess rope on. For internal assemblies, the trucks are housed inside the pole. Instead of a halyard, the pole uses a cable assembly with counterweights and retainer rings on it.

To raise or lower a flag, a person would attach the flag to the hooks and simply pull the rope until the flag reached the desired height. He would then tie the excess rope onto the pole's cleats. A person could raise or lower the flag by operating a wench near the bottom of the pole.