Red Bull Flugtag Pittsburgh

 The famous (or infamous) human-powered flight competition, Red Bull Flugtag, announced its winner for the Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta event. The winner is determined based on three criteria: design creativity, team showmanship and, lastly, flight distance. There are no limits as to whom can enter, and the competition consists of everyday people trying to build gliders in their garages. The winners this time are the stylish crew of Flight at the Roxbury.

Flugtag events started over four decades as an entertaining spectacle of aviation failures. The home-made machines get launched off a 30-ft high ramp over a body of water and must be unsinkable to protect their pilot from their inevitable crash. The entire team often pushes their glider on the ramp as part of the human power, and a popular design is a hang glider atop a wheeled cart. There are limits, in the US, a 30-foot wingspan, weight under 450 pounds, environmentally safe, and only 1 square foot of advertising. Most teams emphasize form over function offering the crowd a fun parade of festival floats diving nose first into the river.

The winners this time achieved some decent flight distance with a glider built from foam and mylar. Though they probably earned more points with their movie inspired team uniforms and night club themed launcher. The event did not go off without incident as a few contestants were reported to have sustained injuries. Still, most contestants relish their opportunity as amateur aviators. If that sound interesting to you, try your luck by finding a Flugtag event coming near you.

Here is the winning team, Flight at the Roxbury: