Tens of thousands, if not a couple hundred thousand sometimes
eagerly anticipate and attend or inadvertently stumble upon each Flugtag, the German
word for "flight day" or "airshow” hosted by Red Bull throughout
the world and of course in the United States. It is the time for crowds to gather
and watch daredevils and amateur inventors alike attempt flight.
All those participating probably signed consent forms in
case the chance of death occurred due to their plummeting downfall from a self-made
flying craft. A majority probably were built in a shed somewhere with the aid of a hammer,
planks of wood, Styrofoam, spray paint, a handsaw, and a simple dream - to fly. Precision tools, a bachelor’s degree
in physics or aeronautical engineering is optional and definitely not required,
or necessary encouraged. As per event regulations and rules, engines, rockets, batteries, and the like are prohibited.
This time the Red Bull Flugtag event was held in Stockholm, Sweden on Sunday, 30 June 2013. It amassed over 35,000 spectators and showcased the raw talent and ambitious goals of a
few dozen teams. The teams were judged on a numerical scale by a panel of judges. The three criteria judged were:
- The length of the flight
- The creativity of the flying machine
- The team’s ability to entertain the audience
I first learned of the event whilst coming back from the
Independence Day Celebration hosted by U.S. Embassy Stockholm last Thursday at the Sheraton Hotel. Traveling via taxi with
my colleague, we passed by the Café Opera and saw a prominently erected ramp, bearing the Red Bull logo, that led into the waterfront. Word around the office
was that the Flugtag event was to be held on Sunday around noon, and that it would draw a
massive crowd of spectators.
Back in the U.S. I had seen commercials on the
television, viewed Youtube videos on the Internet showcasing the Flugtag, and heard talks and chatter of the amazing spectacle
from friends and acquaintances.
This marketing campaign ploy is indeed clever. The company
slogan is "Red Bull gives you wings." What better way to affirm or disprove that
statement than to test an amateur “flying” contraption in front of a massive audience?
Red Bull has become an iconic and recognizable
international company, with its tall and slender cylindrical silver aluminum cans accented with blue. If I were to stroll through the Marriott Library at the University
of Utah on any given day, I would come upon a plethora of Red Bull cans
in plain sight. From the standard sugar variant, to sugar-free, and zero
calories, then you would see
the variance in sizes too, from 8 fl. oz, 12, 16, and even 24 fl. oz. There's a size to fit every level of your depraved, nefarious caffeine addiction.
It would be an insult to my fellow college students by failing to attend. Red Bull has aided students in pulling
all-nighters in order to complete a special project or research paper, the
beverage that reduced the sleepiness a restless driver endured,and was the company that sponsored the successful stratosphere free-fall jump and descent from space.
Well, on that cloudy yet temperate 66 degree Fahrenheit day - Swedes,
tourists, expatriates, wanderers, and all of humankind present in that area in Stockholm
were able to witness the flight attempts of aviation pioneers.
Not quite sure if all of the participants were wired-up on
caffeine, taurine, or some other word with multiple syllables depicted on a can of Red
Bull, but all the teams performed remarkably. My particular favorite teams were
#ILikeItDirty with their unforgettable dance introduction and song, team Magikarp with their Pokemon
themed project, and the Disney Aladdin themed team with their belly dancing and swords, Flying Carpet.
I genuinely had a great time and was able to witness the
event in its entirety.
All had an introductory act or dance accompanied by music such as "Party Rock Anthem" and "Harlem Shake," and was sometimes accompanied with fireworks or fire extinguishers.
With their securely fastened helmets
and life-preservers buckled neatly with the assistance of mini-skirt clad women with flight attendant hats and scarves, the brave souls nonetheless attempted flight. Now, I presume the flying machines were not
FAA-approved because some plummeted into the water after their contraption came crashing down from the ramp, others were ejected from their craft almost immediately, but one team managed to stay atop their flying machine without plundering to the watery depths.
Costumes were adorned, cheers were yelled, GoPro cameras
ready and mounted, the plunge imminent - Red Bull Flugtag in Stockholm was a success and the brave pilots and crew members were welcomed with cans of Red Bull and applause for their momentous work.
During intermissions we had water propelling machines
attached to people in the water giving a spectacle, musical performances, we had parachuters
rustling down from the sky attempting to land on the ramp - with one being successful, garnering much applause from the audience.
live in a world of possibility. Maybe all you need is a pair of wings or a
special aluminum can filled with hopes and dreams, and an audience?
Nothing is truly impossible, retrospectively what we might perceive as impossible may merely be an endeavor yet to be achieved or conquered. So what are you waiting for?
Dream big and dare to fail.