I believe I've blogged in the past about the insanity that is Flugtag. It's a shameless corporate event dreamed up to publicize Red Bull energy drink, I guess playing off their slogan, Red Bull Gives You Wings. Flugtag is an event where people "fly" homemade "gliders." The scare quotes are because I would expect that a person would have to drink something considerably stronger than Red Bull before they would believe that most of these so-called aircraft would have a glide ratio better than that of a brick.
Check out the video on the official site. Even if you don't usually bother to make your computer pay these things, this one has to be seen to be believed. Various gliders, among them a B747, a dolphin, an eagle, and a submarine are pushed off a ramp and with few exceptions experience complete structural failure within seconds. It looks like a hell of a good time. I received an email last week from an intern, promoting the event, asking me not, as I expected, to publicize it, but to actually enter.
I told the intern I wasn't that crazy, but maybe I lied. There's something inspiring about watching so many improbable aircraft launching off that ramp and then PLUMMETING into the water. It almost makes me want to get a team together. I wish I'd had more than a couple of weeks notice before the deadline. I suppose the idea of giving a short application deadline is to require you to charge up on Red Bull and just go for it.
Maybe next year. It would certainly be fun. What would you like to launch in? A unicorn? A replica Avro Arrow? A Silver Dart? A giant badminton birdie? A flying saucer? A birthday cake? The emphasis is clearly on the bizarre craft, and not the nominal distance-to-glide competition. From the entry form we see the entire aircraft, including pilot, must weigh in at or under 200 kg, with a maximum wingspan of nine metres. It must be entirely human powered with no stored energy, so this opens the possibility of a Gossamer Condor type entry, except we have the added challenge that all components must float. I wonder if this is a new addition, because I see bicycle parts in the videoclip. You can find more clips by searching for Flugtag on YouTube.
It would be a truly glorious moment. Who is in the Ottawa area and wants to help design, build and fly an insanely stupid glider? I don't know if I'm serious, but I'm pretty sure most of the actual competitors aren't serious, so I don't know if that matters.