The Red Bull Flugtag set up shop over the weekend down at Tom McCall Waterfront Park on Saturday, so that amateur daredevils could launch their homemade flying vehicles into the Willamette River. What makes the Flugtag so special is how it celebrates poorly made machines with an enthusiasm not seen elsewhere. You don’t just win because you flew the longest you win with a combination of length and creativity too.
But mostly you win by showing up in some poorly conceived design and launching off a huge ramp into a river. Vehicle have a maximum wingspan of 30 feet and can weigh no more than 450 pounds (including the pilot). There were some doozies this year, and if The Flugtag proves anything it’s that people like to dress up in crazy outfits and jump into rivers.
Team Yakima’s “Big Wheel,” from Beaverton, won the day with a launch of 62 feet. Full results can be found here. This was the first time in four years the event was held in Portland.
Mute your volume because the sound is grating, but here is Team Lego, a crowd favorite. It’ll take someone special to top Flying Banjo from Nashville, TN for both élan and distance. They are the current US record holders, soaring a distance of 162 feet while playing “Rocky Top.”