SANTA MONICA, Calif. — The National Red Bull Flugtag, the homemade flying craft competition, took off in Washington, D.C., Sunday, Sept. 22, and landed in Long Beach, Calif., with layovers in Miami, Chicago and Dallas/Fort Worth.
Adding to the already-extraordinary day, the The Chicken Whisperers, a team of aerospace and mechanical engineers from Palo Alto, Calif., proved that chickens can indeed fly, soaring 258 feet and shattering the old world record, set in Germany in 2012, by 29 feet.
“I was lucky to catch a nice wind after takeoff and I was able to steer the craft, using grip-controlled rudders in the back of the structure, to go even further,” said The Chicken Whisperers’ pilot Laura Shane.
As an event taking place for 12 years worldwide, never before has one country taken on the challenge of putting on five Red Bull Flugtags on one day. The feat was accomplished as more than 366,000 spectators celebrated the last day of summer and packed the shores of five of America’s most iconic cities.
Red Bull Flugtag, “flying day” in German, is a competition that dares both the brave and brainy to design, build and pilot homemade flying machines off a 30-foot-high “flight deck” in front of tens of thousands of spectators. No ordinary flying competition, teams are not only judged on distance but also creativity and showmanship, making the event equal parts inventive, inspiring, hilarious and all-around wacky, according to organizers.
More than 750 aspiring aviators composing more than 150 teams across the country took on the challenge with crafts that only their imaginations could dream up. The spectators saw an incredibly varied cast of characters perform atop the five flight decks before taking off with (oftentimes far-fetched) aspirations of flight, including lumberjacks from Vermont, dragon riders from Fort Lauderdale, firemen from Skokie, bullfighters from Fort Worth, pirates from California, and even unicorn hunters from Virginia.
- 1st Place – Harvest Bureau (New Holland, Penn.) 54 feet
- 2nd Place – Viking Army (New Jersey) 51 feet
- 3rd Place – Duck Hunt (Richmond, Va.) 51 feet
- People’s Choice – Made in ‘Murica (McGaheysville, Va.) 36 feet
Southpoint Waterfront hosted the first Red Bull Flugtag held in the nation’s capitol, and more than 10,000 ticketed spectators can now say they personally witnessed history.
- 1st Place – The Flugtag Flying Dead (Tampa, Fla.) 120 feet
- 2nd Place – Hard Rock Flying Legendary Burger (Orlando, Fla.) 57 feet
- 3rd Place – Team O’Daly’s Mustache Ride (Mobile, Ala.) 69 feet
- People’s Choice – Gator Aviators (Gainesville, Fla.) 69 feet
A crowd of 94,000 spectators on land and on water packed into Bayfront Park and Biscayne Bay to witness the fourth Red Bull Flugtag held in Miami.
- 1st Place – Texas Tomcats (Hallsville, Tex.) 72 feet
- 2nd Place – Ducktape Dynasty (Denton, Tex.) 42 feet
- 3rd Place – Texas Bull Fighters (Ft. Worth) 36 feet
- People’s Choice – Gas Monkey Garage (Dallas) 9 feet
The event at Lake Carolyn at Las Colinas Urban Center drew more than 92,000 spectators.
- 1st Place – Chicago Duck Hunt (Chicago) 39 feet
- 2nd Place – The Bamzoniacs (Rochelle, Ill.) 57 feet
- 3rd Place – My Favorite Team (Highland Park, Ill.) 48 feet
- People’s Choice – Hell on Heels (Chicago) 42 feet
Burnham Park played host to Red Bull Flugtag Chicago for the first time. Despite a weather delay, more than 60,000 spectators gathered for the best in Midwest aviation action.
- 1st Place – The Chicken Whisperers (Palo Alto, Calif.) 258 feet *new world record!
- 2nd Place – Legendary Flying Machine (Long Beach, Calif.) 108 feet
- 3rd Place – Oakley Factory Pilots (Foothill Ranch, Calif.) 60 feet
- People’s Choice – Red, White and Brew (Reedley, Calif.) 48 feet
More than 110,000 spectators enjoyed a warm, sunny day at Long Beach’s Rainbow Harbor, also host to a Red Bull Flugtag event in 2010, to watch aviation history.
For more information: RedBullflugtagusa.com