Cool Stuff: Flugtag

Flugtag makes for fun "flights" at first national Red Bull contest

July 26, 2013


A flying fuel pump nozzle. A fairy atop a speeding tooth. A soaring pirate ship. A pizza that you can really toss. Or a stone pyramid that converts into an alien spaceship.

No, you’re not imagining things. Hundreds of thousands of people will get to see “aircraft” like that and more at the first national Red Bull Flugtag taking place in five cities across the nation on Sept. 21.

“One day. Five cities. Hundreds of flying … or not … machines. Be part of the biggest splash in aviation history,” promotes the Red Bull website.

Flugtag, which means “flying day” in German, will be held in Washington, D.C., Miami, ChicagoDallas/Fort Worth and Long Beach, Calif. Only 30 teams from each city can compete. Click here to learn about the teams.

Teams consist of one pilot and four people to aid in takeoff since the homemade flying contraptions must be completely human powered. Only self-constructed gliders with a maximum wingspan of 28 feet and a maximum weight of 400 pounds, including pilot, will be cleared for launch.

FlugtagWhat will happen on the event day?
“Crazy stuff,” according to the Flugtag website. “The fearless pilots launch their team-powered flying machines off a 30-foot ramp into the wavy waters below.”

Celebrity judges will rate the flights based on three criteria — distance, creativity of craft and showmanship. The winning team will get to skydive with the Red Bull Air Force.

The first Red Bull Flugtag occurred in Vienna, Austria in 1992. A decade later, the competition began in the United States. In the years since, more than 35 Red Bull Flugtags have been held around the world.

The world record flight, set in Germany in 2010, is 226 feet.

If you don’t live near one of the sites, you can still compete. Click to play theFlugtag game and see how you’d do.