All Systems Are A Go For Flugtag Human Powered Flying Competition <

 

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All Systems Are A Go For Flugtag Human Powered Flying Competition

By
Shane Nolan
 
 

May 23, 2010 - Red Bull Flugtag, the outrageous human-powered flying competition, is getting ready to swoop in for a landing in Long Beach this August 21st for the first time in the event's 19-year history. Forty teams have been selected to try their hand at flight -- however briefly -- before ultimately splashing into the waters of Rainbow Harbor waiting below.

These aviator wannabes will be launching themselves off Pine Avenue Pier, the exact same spot Travis Pastrana jumped his rally car 269 feet during Red Bull: New Year. No Limits.

Flugtag, which means "flying day" in German, gives everyday Joes (and Janes!) the chance to be heroes for the day when they launch their homemade human-powered flying machines off a 30-foot high flight deck and hopefully also into the Red Bull Flugtag hall of fame.

 

Teams will be looking to fly as far as they can this August, but they'll also have to impress the judges with their creativity and showmanship if they want a spot on the podium.

Talk about a qualified bunch! The international distance record of 195 feet is definitely up for grabs with this group of teams who know more than a little bit about flight. Crafts will be designed by the likes of mechanical and aerospace engineers, engineering students, golf ball, club designers from Titleist, and yes, a team of rocket scientists (really!). The event will also showcase crafts by the Coast Guard, U.S. Navy Rescue Divers and two teams comprised of Southern California firefighters... while these teams may not have as much expertise at technical design, they certainly know about water and getting wet!

But lest you think it will be all function and no crazy form, keep in mind spectators will also see an aerial battle between two giant flying heads: President Obama and Chuck Norris (what other giant flying heads did you expect?). The Flintstones will make an appearance, as will the Jetsons, oversized Peeps (the Easter candy), a huge stork (with baby in tow) and a flying stingray. History will also be made as the Spruce Goose (well, a spruce goose, not the Spruce Goose) will return to the skies, trying to best its previous 1947 distance. Oh, and the Los Angeles Clippers have a team. Will their extraordinary height and ball-handling skills help them? Wait and see.

The teams come from all over California as well as from Arizona, New Mexico, Washington and Nevada. College rivalries will be in high gear as teams from USC, UCLA, Northern Arizona University, Cal State University Long Beach, UC San Diego, UC Irvine, Arizona State University and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo take to the skies to compete for school pride.

 

While participants should let their imaginations soar, there are still a few rules in this sky. First off, all flying machines must be entirely human-powered (no external energy sources or stored power). And, no matter what they say, size does matter -- all crafts must weigh no more than 450 lbs including the pilot.

The first Red Bull Flugtag was held in Vienna in 1991. Since then, more than 80 Red Bull Flugtags have been held around the world -- from London to San Francisco -- attracting up to 300,000 spectators at one event! The international flight distance record stands at 195 feet set in 2002 at Red Bull Flugtag Austria. North America's longest flight took place at Red Bull Flugtag Nashville in 2007 with a distance of 155 feet. Miami will host the first 2010 Red Bull Flugtag in the U.S., followed by the Twin Cities, MN; Long Beach, CA; and Philadelphia, PA.

Red Bull Flugtag is a free event and is open to the public. Gates open at 11:00am and the first craft launches for flight at 1:00pm.
 
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