A few days ago I returned home from a twelve day visit to my Texas operation
in Irving (Dallas/Ft. Worth area).
"one of the more ridiculous events I've seen",
and yet he followed with "and I look forward to seeing it again".
When I heard that Red Bull had started doing their own version, I was thrilled.
Red Bull is serious about this event, and they go big. While we were watching Flugtag on Lake Carolyn in Texas, there were four more Flugtag events going on in Miami, Chicago, Washington D.C., and Long Beach, California.
It's hard to describe this event.
First, Imagine 30+ teams of people building things they THINK will fly - often out of plywood, cardboard, and paper mâché.
I must apologize for the diminutive size and quality of these video clips.
Some might be a bit jumpy as well, because I was rowing against the wind with one hand and trying to focus on the action with the other.
The builders of this next craft did a really great job with the theme - making it look like a space shuttle, I'm sure they won points for that, but as you'll see, they did not do well in the distance scoring.
Entrants were judged on several fronts, including how far their craft flew.
I heard one team member say "we're certain that our craft will go at least thirty feet...becuase that's the vertical distance from the deck to the water".
and blowing directly at the end of the flight deck.
2. Team and their craft are on the flight deck as loud music thumps (often loud enough to be heard in Oklahoma)
3. Fancy dancing and other choreographed and not-so-choreographed business takes place.
4. Crowd gets whooped up.
5. Music either ends or comes to the point where it's time to push.
6. pilot gets in or on the vehicle.
7. A great effort is made to get the vehicle going towards the end of the deck.
8. At first the whole things moves swiftly towards the edge, but...
9. As the craft approaches it's date with gravity, it slows down.
(I couldn't tell if this was due to extra headwind coming over the edge,
if the pushers ran out of steam as they progressed on,
or if there was a general sense of worry or doom)
Almost every single vehicle hit the end so slow that...
10. The first thing to pass over the edge is the nose, and because it's goig too slow, it drops.
11. The headwind begins to press down on every surface of the craft, and as the rest of it leaves the deck...
12. It is unceremoniously blasted, all hopes of actual flight are dashed, and then the whole thing gets bashed into the water just below the flight deck (30 feet below). Most pilots managed to bail out before impact. Most.
13. All pushers jump off the edge and into the water as well, some did flips, none did belly flops.
I think this guy was lucky to walk away from his "landing":
Here's a much better look at it:
Not everything was built by someone who knew what they were doing
Nobody died at this event, and I was told that there was only one injury requiring attention.
we had to work to keep from getting blown into the "landing zone"...
A few months ago, I was in a meeting with some of the Red Bull people and I asked them:
"What's the craziest thing you've seen at one of these?"
I thought the answer would involve nudity or death.
The answer was:
"You know what," he said in amazement, "some of these things actually fly".
The winning entry was a group called the "Texas Tomcats", who had a fighter jet theme.
They blasted the music from Top Gun, two nuts ran around carrying cardboard fighter jet costumes, there was a carrier-deck flag man, and their vehicle resembled an F-14.
I had the best view possible, and then I pushed the wrong button on my phone.
Luckily, someone posted this on YouTube:
All in all, it was a great day, I will never forget it, and I'm sure that every person who "flew" off that platform will look back on the day in amazement: