Red Bull Flugtag competitions were held in cities across the US on Saturday as part of the first National Red Bull Flugtag. The competitions, sponsored by energy drink maker Red Bull, took place in Chicago, Washington DC, Miami, Dallas/Fort Worth, and Long Beach.
What exactly is Flugtag? The competition involves launching a homemade flying machine off a 30-foot ramp into the water below it. Teams consist of five people, and are chose via an application process by a special event committee.
The homemade gliders must adhere to event specifications: a maximum wingspan of 28 feet and a maximum weight of 400 pounds, including the machine's pilot. And, no motors allowed: the machine is launched solely by its crew's manpower.
— Red Bull (@redbull) September 21, 2013
The event's celebrity judges are looking at three factors: distance, creativity of craft, and showmanship. The first place team gets to skydive with the Red Bull Air Force, an experienced team of expert free flyers.
Flugtag - pronounced FLOO-TOG - is a German word meaning flight day, or air show. According to the Red Bull website, the first Red Bull Flugtag took place in Vienna, Austria in 1992. Ten years later the event came to the US, drawing an impressive 25,000 spectators to the Embarcadero Pier in San Francisco.
The event flourished during the next decade, culminating in the official National Flugtag on Saturday.
The video below shows the launch of the Chicken Whisperers machine in Long Beach. The team claims to be the Flugtag world record holder.
Red Bull appears to support that claim:
— Red Bull Los Angeles (@redbullLAX) September 21, 2013
The event generated considerable buzz on Twitter:
— Kendre Hoggard (@kendre_hoggard) September 22, 2013
— Stacey Servo (@New2Lou) September 22, 2013
— Elizabeth Ahern (@lizaaaaay) September 22, 2013
— Austin Kondo (@austinkondo) September 22, 2013