Red Bull Flugtag honors homemade dreams of flight

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More than 100,000 in attendance including ARC students to celebrate flying day at Bay Area

Since humans first looked up in the sky to see birds flying about, we have dreamed of flight. The Red Bull Flugtag, meaning flying day in German, honors that by allowing teams to fling themselves through the air in pursuit of that dream.

Red Bull held the Flugtag event at San Francisco’s McCovey Cove on Saturday, Nov. 10. The first Flugtag was held in Vienna, Austria in 1991 and, according to Red Bull’s press release, has held more than 100 events since.

First coming to the United States in 2002, the original U.S. flying day was also held in the city by the bay. The Flugtag has not come back to San Francisco since then, making the city a good spot to honor 10 years in the U.S.

This year’s participants come from across the U.S., with a large portion coming from the northern California area. American River College had a presence in the event with Kitty Zazzlers team member Wes Richards, who is currently an ARC student.

“We just saw it and thought we had to do it,” said Richards about participating in the Flugtag.

Another ARC student at the event was criminal justice major Michael Sanchez, who worked as security at the event.

“I think it’s great,” said Sanchez. “It’s such a huge event.”

With 116,000 people reported as attending the event by Red Bull, the crowds were immense. With groups of people feeling so packed, they removed event barriers to sit on the rocks along McCovey Cove to watch the homemade, human powered crafts be pushed over the edge of a 30-foot high pier. The competing crafts ranged from a large bed to a flying mustache.

Bay Area resident Alina Martinez piloted a giant hot sauce bottle with wings. Martinez had attempted to fly in the first U.S. Flugtag held in 2002, but was only 13 years old and was not allowed to pilot the craft under the Flugtag rules, which require pilots to be adults.

“We were going to use a big toilet and I was going to be the turd,” said Martinez of her first craft. “I vowed we would do it the next time it came.”

Three winners were named in the event with a fourth place people’s choice award given for the audience’s favorite team. Team Moveber, with their mustachioed glider, took the win followed by the Dia de los Muertos-inspired Sugar Skulls 128.

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