Red Bull Flugtag in Tampa
Red Bull’s Flugtag competition came to Tampa Bay today. What is Flugtag? Teams build “air”craft and “fly” them off a ramp into the water. The flight is preceded by some show. Flight time/distance get measured and determine the winner. Several friends and I went to Bayshore, Tampa, and watched the event. (110,000 were estimated to be in attendance!)
(News article below)
Red Bull Flugtag Takes Tampa Bay by Storm
110,000 Watch Florida Take Flight
TAMPA, FL, Jul 19, 2008 (MARKET WIRE via COMTEX) — A record crowd of 110,000 gathered down by the bay to witness 35 teams launch their human-powered flying machines at Red Bull Flugtag Tampa Bay. It was the first craft of the day, local team Tampa Baywatch, that took home top prize with their hotter-than-“The Hoff” skit and a flight distance of 109 feet. “We knew we were going to fly, but we weren’t sure how far. We were all freaking out a little bit being the first team off with over 100,000 people watching you. It’s just amazing — once in a lifetime,” said Tampa Baywatch pilot, Keith Humphrey, who was joined on the flight deck by his twin, Kevin Humphrey, and teammates Chris Elmore, David West and Kevin Riley.
Team Air Gilligan started from this tropic port aboard this tiny ship to secure second place with their flight distance of 32 feet — leaving Mary Ann and Ginger high but not so dry. Rounding out the top three was Panama City firefighters’ team The Little Engine That Could who flew 21 feet. “We’re firefighters, not pilots, so we did the best we could with what we had. Somehow the Little Engine That Could didn’t, but there’s always next year!” exclaimed team pilot Matthew Lopez.
The day’s flying fans also showed some local love to the Tampa Bay Derby Darlins, winners of the People’s Choice Award who captured a third of the Red Bull Flugtag record 30,000 SMS votes.
STOAGIES AND HOAGIES
The Cigar City kept things interesting with the University of Tampa’s Flying Minaret, Cuban sandwiches and a smokin’ hot group of Booty Snatchin’ Pirates entertaining the crowd. While many teams were hoping for a gust of wind to take them farther, team Junk Mail’s letter themed craft went postal and tipped over into the side of the flight deck before hitting the water! The teams had to blow away a celebrity panel of judges, including Tampa Bay Buccaneer Chris Hovan and NASCAR driver Scott Speed. Judging was based on three criteria: speed, creativity and showmanship. Hovan couldn’t get enough of the action: “I gotta take my hat off to these guys. It takes guts to jump off a 30 foot pier!”
Today’s event marks the first stop on this year’s Red Bull Flugtag national tour. Next up is Portland, Oregon on August 2 and things wind down in the Windy City with a landing in Chicago on September 6.
LANDING A LEGACY
While Tampa Bay may be its latest touchdown, Red Bull Flugtag is a competition with Austrian roots — the first flying day was held in Vienna in 1991. Since then, more than 40 Red Bull Flugtags have been held around the world from Rome to Cleveland. The international flight distance record currently stands at 195 feet set in 2000 at Red Bull Flugtag Austria. The North American flight record of 155 feet was set last year at Red Bull Flugtag Nashville.