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Red Bull Flugtag Flies Through Philadelphia

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Nearly 85,000 Red Bull Flugtag fans packed the Camden Waterfront in Philly to watch human powered flying machines plunge down the Delaware River.

Philadelphians came out in droves to check out the skies above the Delaware River swarm with homemade flying machines this Labor Day Weekend.  Lining both sides of the water and even prowling the Ben Franklin Bridge, Red Bull Flugtag fans were in full force to cheer on the fearless crews as they braved the remaining gusts of Hurricane Earl in their quest for a flying victory.

Flying clocks, crash test dummies and a dodo bird were among the 32 crafts that took flight off the 26-foot flight deck in front of 85,000 people. The winner, team Giant Flying Llama took first place with their baseball-inspired hat and uniforms that ignited the Philly crowd and a flight of 42 feet. Second was a Philly favorite, the Liberty Bell inspired team Let Freedom Wing. Team BUMBLE, whose Christmas theme was slightly out of season, finished third. Bringing the People’s Choice Award back to the Garden State, the crowd went cuckoo for Five Guys One Clock.

Team spirit reverberated throughout the waterfront as first place winner Giant Flying Llama’s and People’s Choice Five Guys One Clock all brought posses of T-shirt totting team supporters. Team pilot Justin Myers admitted: “We were going for a graceful flight but this was unexpected. Taking the top was amazing. The heart and pride that went into it reflected through our fans.” For claiming first place, team Giant Flying Llama will be headed to Arizona for a flight with Red Bull Air Race World Champion, Kirby Chambliss, at his “Flying Crown Ranch.”

We were going for a graceful flight but this was unexpected. Taking the top was amazing. The heart and pride that went into it reflected through our fans.

Red Bull Flugtag, which means “flying day” in German, is a competition that dares both the brave and the brainy to design, build and pilot homemade flying machines off a 30-foot high ramp in hopes of achieving human-powered flight.  While distance was definitely important, the crafts were also judged on two other criteria –creativity and showmanship – by a panel of celebrity judges including Preston and Steve from 93.3 WMMR-FM, Red Bull Athlete and Professional Drift Car Driver Ryan Tuerck, Red Bull Athlete and Professional Lacrosse Player Paul Rabil, along with Philly’s own Betsy Ross and Ben Franklin (wink wink).

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 now stands at 207 feet and was just set in Minneapolis/St. Paul on July 24, 2010, after having stood for eight years!  This is the fourth and final Red Bull Flugtag event in the US this summer after stops in Miami, Long Beach and Minneapolis/St. Paul.  Red Bull Flugtag Philadelphia will also be featured in a reality series called “On the Wings of Glory” airing this Sunday – check your local listings.

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

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