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Cleared For 'Takeoff'! Red Bull Flugtag Set For Long Beach Runway, Er, Pier

Little Green Army Men, The Flintstones, And A Flying Sombrero Will Attempt To Soar Over Long Beach

It may not be "Those Magnificent Men And Their Flying Machines" ... exactly ... but it is a lot of fun. And for the first time in the event's 19-year history, Red Bull Flugtag, the outrageous human-powered flying competition, is getting ready launch over Rainbow Harbor in Long Beach, CA, on August 21st. Forty teams have been selected to try their hand at flight -- however briefly -- before ultimately splashing into the water waiting below. These aviator wannabes will be launching themselves off Pine Avenue Pier.


Photo Courtesy Red Bull

Flugtag, which means "flying day" in German, gives everyday Joes (and Janes!) the chance to be heroes for the day when they launch their homemade human-powered flying machines off a 30-foot high flight deck and hopefully also into the Red Bull Flugtag hall of fame. Teams will be looking to fly as far as they can this August, but they'll also have to impress the judges with their creativity and showmanship if they want a spot on the podium.

The international distance record of 195 feet is definitely up for grabs with this group of teams who know more than a little bit about flight. "Flying" machines will be designed by the likes of mechanical and aerospace engineers, engineering students, golf ball / club designers from Titleist, and yes, a team of rocket scientists (really!). The event will also showcase entries by the Coast Guard, U.S. Navy Rescue Divers and two teams comprised of Southern California firefighters. While these teams may not have as much expertise at technical design, they certainly know about water and getting wet!


Photo Courtesy Red Bull

But lest you think it will be all function and no crazy form, keep in mind spectators will also see an aerial battle between two giant flying heads: President Obama and Chuck Norris (what other giant flying heads did you expect?). The Flintstones will make an appearance, as will the Jetsons, oversized Peeps (the Easter candy), a huge stork (with baby in tow) and a flying stingray. History will also be made as the Spruce Goose (well, a spruce goose, not the Spruce Goose) will return to the skies, trying to best its previous 1947 distance. Oh, and the Los Angeles Clippers have a team. Will their extraordinary height and ball-handling skills help them? Wait and see.


Photo Courtesy Red Bull

The teams come from all over California as well as from Arizona, New Mexico, Washington and Nevada. College rivalries will be in high gear as teams from USC, UCLA, Northern Arizona University, Cal State University Long Beach, UC San Diego, UC Irvine, Arizona State University and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo take to the skies to compete for school pride.

While participants should let their imaginations soar, there are still a few rules in this sky. First off, all flying machines must be entirely human-powered (no external energy sources or stored power). And, no matter what they say, size does matter -- all crafts must weigh no more than 450 lbs (including the pilot).


Photo Courtesy Red Bull

The first Red Bull Flugtag was held in Vienna in 1991. Since then, more than 80 Red Bull Flugtags have been held around the world -- from London to San Francisco -- attracting up to 300,000 spectators at one event! The international flight distance record stands at 195 feet set in 2002 at Red Bull Flugtag Austria. North America's longest flight took place at Red Bull Flugtag Nashville in 2007 with a distance of 155 feet. Miami will host the first 2010 Red Bull Flugtag in the U.S., followed by the Twin Cities, MN; Long Beach, CA; and Philadelphia, PA.

FMI: www.redbullflugtagusa.com

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