Flight of the Flugtag

By: Bruce Pelletier

The world of sports will always draw fans like a moth into a burning building, and in some social circles, the Red Bull Flugtag is bigger than the “Stanley Cup.” Spectators from around the world come witness over 40 daredevil test pilots that will plunge into the icy cold waters of Lake Michigan. And remember this folks, the Flugtag event is no different than the Flight of Icarus. Daedalus conceived to escape from the Labyrinth with his son Icarus from the island Crete by constructing wings and then flying to safety. However, the wings were fabricated from feathers and wax. The young boy Icarus soared as high as the Sun and his wings turned to ashes. Falling to his death; Icarus’ body was carried ashore by Heracles, naming the Aegean Sea and island after the fall of Icarus.

So what the fuck is a Flugtag, you ask? It’s translated from a German word, meaning “Flying Day” The first Red Bull Flugtag competition was held in 1992 in Vienna, Austria. It was such a great success that it has been held every year since. Over 35 cities all over the world host this spectacular event, as brainy engineers attempt to break the world record. Anyone is eligible to compete in the Flugtag event. The criteria varies with location. In the United States each flying machine must have a maximum wingspan of 30 feet and a maximum weight (including pilot) of 450 lbs. In Australian Flugtags the wingspan is limited to 26.25 feet and the weight (NOT including pilot) to 396 lbs. The craft must be powered by human centrifugal force, gravity, and insane imagination. Because the aircraft will ultimately end up in the water, it must be unsinkable and constructed entirely of environmentally friendly materials.

Team Smash (Chicago)
Now, we shall take fight with an all-beef Chicago-style hot dog (No ketchup!) chopped with onions, a dill pickle and squirt of yellow mustard. Team Shatter is a whimsical group that met at the Art Institute in Chicago, IL. Sal Gltierrez (San Francisco, CA.) Jason Abroms ( Denver, CO.) Rae Kim (Texas) and Teddy Verbockel ( Chicago, IL.) launched their flying frankfurter and nosedived 30 feet into frigid water. “Distance isn’t our goal this year, explained full time student, Abroms. He adds by saying, ” We are diverse artists that are all are bound together like processed meat in the pursuit of freedom and Flugtag glory.”

Other teams in the 2013 National Flugtag Competition include: Live to Fly, Fly to Swim, Hell on Heels, Still Smuggllin’ (Chicago) Brolar Bears (Ohio) and Last Action Heroes (Missouri) just to name a few. There were no records broken in the Windy City and after slamming down 41 Red Bull Energy drinks, my sources said that the Chicken Whispers in Long Beach, California broke the new world record at: 258 feet.

Chicago Duck Hunt (Chicago)
It was a hard travel back to my North side home in Chicago. Mayor McGreed made sure that our out of town guests paid for parking by placing the Red Bull Flugtag event away from public transportation and in the heart of Chicago’s ghetto. Families were strong-armed by city food vendors that capitalize on this inconvenience should they have forgotten to pack a lunch on that brisk September day. Later that evening, it was time to retire and during my slumber I had this horrible dream. I was flying a Cessnia 1725 and as my co-pilot was a talking Catfish. We were arguing over our flight plan and then that son-of-bitch sunk his fangs right into my belly. This could only mean one thing: a Catfish co-pilot is a symbol of someone that has misrepresented themselves. I had called them out on their bullshit, and was viciously attacked, and because of my innovation, good fortune and the thirst for Red Bull, I over came this intruder.