Red Bull Flugtag returns to Bayfront Park on Sept. 21 offering a day-long parade of insane teams of daredevils and inventors who fearlessly (read: foolishly) throw themselves off of a 30-foot platform into the waters of Biscayne Bay in homemade flying devices that may or may not take flight. Judging the event this year is a team of daredevils in different fields: Cliff diver Steven Lobue; skydiver Amy Chmelecki; Miami’s own DJ Irie; wakeboarder Parks Bonifay; Telemundo personality Mirella Grisales and Miami Herald sports guru Dan LeBatard.
This year’s spectacle, which will be taking place in four other cities simultaneously, is free to watch and will feature 27 motley crews of misfits and weirdos. The team that gets their craft to fly the farthest wins the chance to skydive with the Red Bull Air Force, runners up get VIP access to Red Bull events.
Here are some of the teams to look out for.
Enalpria: The Backwards Airplane
University of Miami ASME
Take everything we know about human flight and put it in reverse and you have the idea behind Enalpria: The Backwards Airplane. Though the concept may sound illogical, this team is comprised of University of Miami engineering students, so they are actually taking the laws of physics into consideration. “We are going to try to maximize ground effect,” says pilot Oliver Doggert, referring to the lapse when the craft floats near the earth. The Flugtag veterans – they place second in the Miami Flugtag 2010 and received the People’s Choice Award in 2012 – have learned a thing or two about how to get attention. Doggert cites their direct marketing tactics as for their People’s Choice win. Will this inverted vessel catch wind or will it belly flop? Who knows. But their skit should be pretty great. It involves a prisoner of some kind…
Flying Legendary Burger
Hard Rock Flying Legendary Burger
How do you make a hamburger aerodynamic? “With a lot of ketchup and a lot of mustard,” says Hard Rock team leader Sebastian Quinn. The team’s craft takes its inspiration from the 40-year-old franchise’s “legendary” selection of hamburgers, but as the team, dressed as all your favorite condiments plus a side of French fries, pushes the craft off the platform, all of the layers will fall away. “It’s going to be flying bun by the time it’s airborne,” Quinn states. Any insight into the pre-flight shenanigans? “We can’t spill the beans yet, but it will involve Miley Cyrus and a little VMA action.”
Salute Our Troops
Kangaroo Express: Salute Our Troops
Cary, North Carolina
Team Kangaroo Express has enlisted former military personnel to create a craft that is a throwback to World War II, replicating the lightweight gliders used to shuttle paratroopers into Normandy. But victory isn’t necessarily part of the battle plan says team captain and Executive Director of the United States Veterans Corps Andrew Ladner, “The whole thing is made of thin wood, PVC piping, foam and its wrapped in different vinyls. I think if it actually flies, we’d all be completely shocked.” The team’s real aim is to raise awareness about the Salute Our Troops tour, a nationwide effort to support groups that assist military veterans and their families. The team will be decked out in ’40s-style uniforms. Expect an Andrews Sisters number.
The Flying Dead
The Flying Dead
Tampa’s team is the one to beat – they were champs at Tampa Flugtag in 2008 with their Tampa Bay Watch theme then in 2011 with a Willy Wonka theme complete with Oompa Loompas. This year they cash in on the zombie craze; pilot Keith Humphrey will be decked out as “The Walking Dead” hero Rick Grimes. His teammates will be transformed by a crew of talented make up artists from Tampa called M6FX into brain eating zombies. The craft will be in the shape of a human brain, which is obviously not very aerodynamic. But not to worry. “The brain is just a launch vehicle,” says Humphrey.
Blue Eagle Racers
Blue Eagle Racers
Port Orange, Florida
This team is packed with aerobatic specialists from Eagle Sport Aviation and they are in it to win it. Sure, they will decked out in blue feathers and will fly around like birds on the platform to Chumbawamba’s “I Get Knocked Down,” but the goal of this team is to build a craft that will break the current US Flugtag distance record of 207 feet. Team leader Robbie Coats says their team pooled all of their expertise into the design of this craft. “Our team is filled with pilots and aerospace engineers. Our objective is to fly the farthest.”