We just happened to be in Chicago on the weekend of
Flugtag. Even if you aren’t familiar with the name, you have probably seen the commercials of the crazy “aircraft” people build and try to fly off a pier into the water. Unfortunately, Red Bull seemed to be surprised there was wind in the Windy City, delaying the start of the event for three hours! Having arrived three hours early to score front row viewing, we endured that lovely lake wind for more than six hours. Guess who didn’t bring a jacket?
Lucky for us, the event was not cancelled, and we stayed long enough to see about half the teams and get some great pictures. Then it was off to warm up and eat some delicious Giordano’s Chicago deep dish pizza!
Click the images that look interesting, or enjoy the whole slideshow sans cold Lake Michigan wind.
You only have to arrive three hours early for front row seats to Flugtag
The boats that picked up debris were ready to go, but the event planners did not account for wind in Chicago. Yeah.
The Chicago Fire Department was on hand too.
This is not an official craft of Flugtag and appeared to only be there for test purposes. I dubbed it “The Weiner Wagon.”
As expected, this did not fly and wasn’t even piloted.
The cleaning crew shows they are fully capable of cleaning weiner wagon remains. They would not display their true capabilities for hours yet.
There were two boats full of people out on the lake. One waited for a couple hours after the “start” before finally disappearing.
Panorama of the lake and start of the crowd.
Panorama of the crowd at what was supposed to be the start of the event at 1:00. It started at least three hours later.
Carolyn & Dale were still smiling at this point.
Carolyn, Dale, Carol, and Marty, still happy after only an hour of waiting.
The first craft to go was sponsored by Walgreens and was a replica of the Sears (I’m not calling it anything else, and neither did they) Tower. They posed it next to the real thing.
Nearly three hours after the weiner wagon test, the Sears Tower goes into the water like a missile. It only “flew” slightly better than the real tower.
The next team, Alice in Casino Land, was up doing their pre-flight skit.
And it’s off! Not too bad, especially when compared to the Sears Tower.
But it didn’t last long. The main point is to fly further than the other guys, particularly the pilot.
This craft looks very light and floaty. Very sparkly.
But the feathers didn’t help much, and it went in with a kerplunk.
The next group was New2Flug, and they had a whole horse race theme.
Dressed like jockeys, each of the team members was actually at least six feet tall.
Maybe they should have hired a real jockey. Red Bull may have given this horse wings, but they sure didn’t work.
I’m too lazy to look up this team, but I liked their piano theme.
Doesn’t look too bad at first.
But it flew only marginally better than an actual piano.
Hell on Heels was the winner of the viewers choice.
They put on a good pre-flight show.
Not bad for men in five-inch heels.
This is probably what won the viewers choice. Everyone likes a little butt-shake.
This flight looked very similar to the Sears Tower, even though this one has wings.
Next up was a giant molar. With wings.
They had a fun routine with the Tooth Fairy popping out of the top of the molar. I personally think they should have had a Cavity Creep (anyone remember those?) pop out of the tooth and then the rest of the team would bash him with their giant toothbrushes.
Complete with a toothbrush, they hoped a fairy might be able to pilot this tooth further than the others.
Preparing for takeoff, the Tooth Fairy takes a wings-up position.
But it does no good.
These dental students should probably stick to cleanings.
Nothing says “flight” like a giant weiner. Right?
With a bun, it’s even more aerodynamic.
Their skit involved putting condiments on their weiner.
Lacking even wings, the weiner doesn’t fly. The announcer called it a “meat missile.”
Chicago dogs clearly work better as flotation devices.
My favorite team was Duck Hunt.
Complete with extra ducks and even a dog, they bring their duck craft onto the pier.
Their skit was done to the music from the classic game.
I don’t know how this team didn’t win viewers choice.
They even had a Nintendo gun.
The duck takes wing.
It didn’t go too far, but they did take first place.
And ducks were made for water too, so it was all good.
This team went to school in North Dakota and made a winged bison for their craft.
They were very patriotic as well as full of school spirit.
I remember reading about how Native Americans would drive herds of buffalo over cliffs. Will this one fare better?
I imagine this is about the same view as those ancient buffalo.
Another unknown team sucked up to the sponser and had a Red Bull craft.
And it looked OK initially.
But it did not do well at all.
We all thought this was a sheep while it waited its turn
But it turns out to be a polar bear.
Team Brolar Bear hoped the chill of the day would carry their bear far.
But it barely made it off the pier.
The poor bear lost its head, and the poor cleanup crew was pulling out stuffing for a very long time.
This team had a Prohibition Chicago theme.
Their craft looked pretty cool.
By this time, I was wishing I was drunk, so my picture wouldn’t be blurry. And that was the last craft I saw.
Mmm, Giordano’s pizza
There is nothing quite like it.