Prepared for launch!


Problem 4 Nissan engineers to construct a flying machine at an occasion filled with ridiculous costumes and dances, then throw in a remaining, breathtaking 30-foot plunge right into a river, and you’ve got the Pink Bull Flugtag.

Because the early 1990s, the Flugtag, which implies “flying day” in German, has put common people on a quest to see how far they’ll fly, with out the help of any kind of motor. Individuals are tasked not solely with engineering their rig, however developing with a theme that features costumes and a skit. Every flying rig is positioned on a cart of some type, with one pilot making an attempt to fly the rattling factor and 4 people pushing the cart off a 30-foot platform right into a river. After the pilot crashes, and so they all do, the 4 pushers should leap off the platform and swim to security. Factors are awarded extra on type and dedication than on precise flying time.

There are guidelines on dimensions and weight, however aside from that, something goes. You wish to construct a rig that appears like a Delorean? That is cool. How a few Batman-themed craft that does not even have wings? Go proper forward.

I joined Nissan engineers Ben Myburgh, Wealthy Simmons, Cullum Stirling and Darren Hawkins on this loopy journey as crew Nissan Tackle flight. I am not a lot for engineering, however I do have a background in costume design. After we selected an ’80s theme, I hit the thrift shops whereas the blokes spent numerous hours constructing the rig. They created a 3D mannequin, put the specs right into a simulator, then welded and riveted the craft collectively in a hangar outdoors of Nashville for six weeks. Our objective? To beat the world report of 258 toes of flight, set in 2013 by a bunch of aeronautical engineers from Palo Alto, California referred to as the Hen Whisperers.

A merry band of low cost 1980s nostalgia. 


The Nissan guys got here up with a wedge-shaped wing that appeared lots like a grasp glider. Our pilot, Stirling, would steer the wedge by shifting his weight ahead and aft. Pushing his weight to the again would push the nostril up, pushing his weight ahead would make the nostril dive. That was the idea, anyway.

The day arrived scorching and humid in Nashville, Tennessee. As we lined up, the crew was assured we might beat the report. The gang was thumping as we took to the platform. We nailed our dance to “Tackle Me” by the ’80s Norwegian band A-ha, Stirling climbed aboard and we pushed the cart as laborious as we might over the sting of the platform.

And it bombed. Actually, the craft simply dove into the water, nostril first. The 4 of us stood on high of the platform, surprised. As a substitute of the anticipated 258-plus toes, the wing went a mere 21 toes. The Flugtag official broke by means of our disbelief with a screeching, “JUMP!”

So, we jumped, 30 toes down, plunging into the Cumberland River. As we climbed out of the cool water, I might inform the blokes had been disillusioned. A lot effort and time and our hopes had been dashed in mere seconds of non-flight.

I am fairly accustomed to shedding. I am often center of the pack after I race off-road. Final 12 months on the inaugural Rebelle Rally, a seven-day rally with only a compass and a map to navigate, I took a really doable win and turned it into 11th place on the final day. Do not get me mistaken, I am aggressive, however profitable isn’t the final word signal of success for me. I depend my enjoyable trophies, not my first place trophies.

At the least we began off trying good.


The engineers at Nissan? Not a lot. As we dried off they lamented the dearth of time for testing. Stirling mentioned the launch off the platform occurred so quick he did not have time to throw his weight to the again of the wing. The ultimate rankings embody scores not just for flight time but additionally theme, costumes and skit. In the long run, the Nissan Take On Flight crew got here in lifeless final. The winners had been Workforce Floor Management, with a Ziggy Stardust theme. Their rig flew 81 toes.

No matter the place we fell within the rankings, the Pink Bull Flugtag is a hoot and a half. The schedule for 2018 has not been revealed, however I extremely suggest you type a crew and tackle the problem. Simply bear in mind, the one factor assured is that you’ll finally crash right into a river.


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