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Mpls, MN, United States

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Incidents & Accidents

Monday, July 26, 2010


This year, St. Paul was one of the four locations for Red Bull's annual Flugtag event, in which contestants compete in teams to launch the farthest-flying, most creative, human-powered flying machine, with the greatest amount of showmanship. Several months ago when David found out it was coming to our neighborhood, we thought it would be pretty great to go watch it.

At brunch with my running buddy and her partner after our 13.1 mile run Saturday morning, the four of us debated whether or not to go. David and I had thought until a few days beforehand that it would be held at Lake Harriet, an easy bike ride from home, before discovering that it was actually at Harriet Island--a doable, but much longer, bike ride. Oops.

However, our friends had information that a mutual friend, house-sitting his mom's condo for the weekend, was having a little Flugtag party, from a deck in direct view of the Flugtag action. We decided to drag our tired selves over there to join the fun for a couple of hours.

I'm glad we went! Traffic on the way over was horrifying (the Twin Cities have been shutting down stretches of both freeways many weekends this summer for construction, packing already overcrowded surface streets), and parking was even worse, but our friend's location really was great, with a view of the ramp from which the crafts launched over (and into!) the Mississippi and the crowds on the island behind them.

We missed the first few flights, and most of us were, tragically, in the condo kitchen when a huge roar went up from the crowd for the tenth team in line. When we piled onto the deck to see what had happened, we saw a fantastic-looking WWII bomber-style glider in the Mississippi, with its pilot triumphantly paddling his arms out the side. It turned out to be the world record setting craft, trouncing the previous record (set in Austria in 1995) of 195 feet (and the U.S. record, set in Nashville, with a flying banjo, of only 155 feet), with a 207 foot flight!

This three-minute video of the highlights
is great if you have the time; otherwise, you must check out the video below of the record-setter, with volume if at all possible: the announcer's unabashed and delighted hooting is my favorite part. Just before the video cuts to the crowd at about 15', you can see, at the left edge of the frame, the condos from which we were watching.


Carissa J said...

This video is hilarious! A "humdinger!" And I think it's funny that a few people fall off the ramp when they're pushing the plane. What an interesting event!

CëRïSë said...

Ha! Yeah, most of the teams had jumpers--in some cases because they had so much momentum from pushing that they couldn't help it, and in other cases apparently just for kicks (though maybe all five team members going into the river improved their "style" score--?). It was fun times!

strovska said...

they had that here a few years ago. i don't know why we didn't go, it sounds very entertaining.

CëRïSë said...

It was super entertaining! We almost talked ourselves out of going, too, but I'm glad to have been there for the making of history.

Leah said...

I'm convinced that you live in the coolest city in the states. Really.