Posted on: Thursday - Sep 21, 2017

On Saturday the Cumberland River will turn into a showcase of homemade flying machines that will launch off a 30-foot flight deck with the hopes of gaining a few yards of airtime before plummeting into the river. The yearly event, known as the Red Bull Flugtag, takes place in two cities each year, with this year’s Flugtags scheduled in Nashville and Pittsburgh.

The tagline for Red Bull’s energy drinks is “Red Bull gives you wings” and they take that literally with the annual Flugtag events. Flugtag means “flying day” in German, and that is essentially what this day is: a competition of home-made flying machines. The event started in Vienna, Austria in 1992 and since then over 100 Flugtags have been held in more than 35 cities around the world, some attracting up to 300,000 spectators.

Contestants must design, build and pilot their flying machines off of a 30-foot flight deck on the river. All flying machines must be completely human powered, so no engines allowed. They also cannot catapult off of the flight deck or have a parachute for the landing. Since the machines will end up in the river, they must be made completely of environmentally friendly materials. 

The teams of five are judged on the distance that their plane gets, creativity of their team and machine, and showmanship. Teams have come up with creative designs such as flying tacos, Santa and his sleigh, a flying cheeseburger and even prehistoric pterodactyls. To increase showmanship points, groups put on skits, wear outrageous costumes and create music to go along with the flights.

Nashville last hosted the event in 2007, when one local team set the North American record flying 155 feet. This record has since been surpassed by a California-based team and the current record stands at 258 feet. The teams competing on Saturday will set out to beat this record and demonstrate their creativity and showmanship in the process.

Forty teams have already been selected to participate in the Nashville Red Bull Flugtag, but the event is free for spectators to come watch the events take place. Gates open at 11 a.m. and over 1,000 people are expected to attend. The main entrances to the event are located on Broadway between 1st and 2nd Ave.

For more information on this event, visit: http://www.redbullflugtag.com/usa-nashville/en/home/