Monday, October 23, 2006

RedBull Flugtag 2006

Flugtag Baltimore 1
click photo for Flicr set

This Sunday I got a chance to take my family to the 2006 RedBull Flugtag here in Baltimore. The Flugtag which means "flying day" in German, is an event where teams compete to see who can fly the farthest in their homebuilt human powered flying machines. The competition which is open to the public, consists of teams of friends, co-workers, and college students, attempting to break the US Flugtag Flight record of 72.8ft.

There are usually 1 or 2 serious craft resembling hangliders of some type which make a genuine effort at the distance goal. However the real event centers around the rest of the competition. Teams like "Oscar Flyer" and "Mount Jemima" who's flying craft (a giant Weiner and a stack of pancakes) are more along the lines of glorified Parade Floats than anything ever meant to take flight. Running down the "runway" towards the 30ft drop into the water below most of the craft meet a wet and sometimes violent end upon impact. Part science fair project gone wrong and part Mardi-Gras, the Flugtag is one of those events you just have to see to understand.

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