Local aviators take flight with "Flugtag"

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

GLENDALE, Ariz. --  Five aspiring aviators from the Valley are hoping to earn their wings next month, when they compete in a wild and crazy event called the "Flugtag."

The Glendale residents will be competing in the National Red Bull Flugtag on September 21 in Long Beach, California.

Their aircraft will be piloted by NAU student Anna Hasselbring. The main engineer is Anna's  father, and other members of the team are all friends.

Over the last few months, their team, 'Fly Like An Egyptian', has been sewing costumes, organizing a skit, and constructing their aircraft. The finished product resembles a stone pyramid, which will transform into an alien spaceship.

"Our inspiration kind of comes off that silly concept of ancient Egypt kind of being discovered by aliens," says Anna.

Teams will not be only judged on flight distance but also their creativity and showmanship. Before testing their "wings," the teams will perform self-choreographed skits in front of thousands of cheering spectators.

The team actually entered the event once before. "Well, last time, when we did it three years ago, we did it more for the 'show" kind of aspect of it," says Anna. "We had a massive aircraft, probably double the size of this. We used more PVC pipe and heavier material. This time we used Styrofoam and PVC pipe and lighter materials. It's more aerodynamic, and we think we'll actually get some flight this year."

32 teams have been selected to pilot their homemade flying machines in an attempt to break the American record for furthest flight of 207 feet.

Red Bull Flugtag, which translates to "flying day" in German, has taken place worldwide for 12 years, entertaining more than 500,000 spectators annually.  National Red Bull Flugtag dares both the brave and brainy to design, build and pilot homemade, human-powered flying machines.

The event is free to attend and open to the public.  For more information visit www.redbullflugtagusa.com.