Red Bull Flugtag, “flying day” in German, is a competition that dares both the brave and brainy to design, build and pilot homemade flying machines off a 30-foot-high “flight deck” in front of tens of thousands of spectators. No ordinary flying competition, teams are not only judged on distance but also creativity and showmanship making the event equal parts inventive, inspiring, hilarious and all-around wacky.
More than 110,000 spectators enjoyed a warm, sunny day at Long Beach’s Rainbow Harbor, also host to a Red Bull Flugtag event in 2010, to watch aviation history. Adding to the already extraordinary day, the The Chicken Whisperers, a team of aerospace and mechanical engineers from Palo Alto, proved that chickens can indeed fly, soaring a staggering 258 feet and shattering the old world record, set in Germany in 2012, by 29 feet.
“I was lucky to catch a nice wind after takeoff and I was able to steer the craft, using grip-controlled rudders in the back of the structure, to go even further,” said The Chicken Whisperers’ pilot, Laura Shane.
Carson Daly was on hand to help judge the event, as well as Kevin of The Kevin & Bean Show on KROQ.
1st Place – The Chicken Whisperers (Palo Alto, Calif.) 258 feet *new world record!
2nd Place – Legendary Flying Machine (Long Beach, Calif.) 108 feet
3rd Place – Oakley Factory Pilots (Foothill Ranch, Calif.) 60 feet
People’s Choice – Red, White and Brew (Reedley, Calif.) 48 feet
More than 750 aspiring aviators composing more than 150 teams across the country took on the challenge with crafts that only their imaginations could dream up. The spectators saw an incredibly varied cast of characters perform atop the five flight decks before taking off with (oftentimes far-fetched) aspirations of flight, including lumberjacks from Vermont, dragon riders from Fort Lauderdale, firemen from Skokie, bullfighters from Fort Worth, pirates from California, and even unicorn hunters from Virginia.