Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

High winds add to wild times at Flugtag in Tampa

Members of the If Your Gunna Be Dumb, You Gotta Be Tough team soar and fall off the Red Bull Flugtag ramp into Tampa Bay on Saturday afternoon outside the Tampa Convention Center. More than 30 teams competed in this year’s event. 

WILLIE J. ALLEN JR. | Times

Members of the If Your Gunna Be Dumb, You Gotta Be Tough team soar and fall off the Red Bull Flugtag ramp into Tampa Bay on Saturday afternoon outside the Tampa Convention Center. More than 30 teams competed in this year’s event. 

TAMPA — Not even high winds could keep these aircraft afloat.

A giant chicken landed face-first in the water. A fire truck took a nose dive. And a red and white mushroom got some air but didn't make it far.

One by one, the contraptions came crashing down as the crowd cringed.

The occasion? Flugtag.

The competition, put on by the energy drink company Red Bull, took place Saturday afternoon at the Tampa Convention Center and in the Hillsborough River.

More than 125,000 people crowded onto boats and along the water to watch 38 teams push their creations off the 30-foot-high flight deck.

The National Weather Center in Ruskin reported wind gusts up to 32 mph downtown on Saturday afternoon, making the event even more interesting.

"When we got up on the ramp, a gust of wind came over the top of the Convention Center and snapped our right wing," said Keith Humphrey, 41, the pilot of Willy Wonka's Amazing Flying Adventure team from St. Petersburg.

With the help of a broom and some duct tape, the team managed to fix its creation seconds before flight.

And they still managed to win the event. They also won in 2008.

"We flew 50 feet," Humphrey said. "It is amazing we even got off the ramp."

A panel of five judges, including former Bucs player Ryan Nece and Rays player Evan Longoria, judged teams on distance traveled, the creativity of their craft and their 30-second skit prior to takeoff.

Team BigStuff of Gainesville, Ga., came in second place with their Back to the Future-inspired craft resembling the DeLorean. In third place was U.S.A. Team, of Pompano, with a tank and characters from The A-Team television show.

"The wind wasn't too bad because our tank was so stout and so good," said Brad Fasold, 42, of U.S.A. Team.

But other teams didn't fare so well, whether it was the wind or not.

Team Shake it Off of Tampa didn't even make it off the flight deck in one piece. Their craft, modeled after the weightlifting device that shakes, crumbled under the weight of its pilot. Only the top wings made it to the water.

For the 2nd Basemen team of Tampa the idea of building a giant pink bra as their air craft seemed like a good idea. But on Saturday, it went crashing straight down.

"It happened really fast," said Chris Coleman, 50. "We'd still do it again."

Flugtag last took place in Tampa in 2008, when it drew the largest crowd in the United States with 110,000 people. This year, Tampa was the only U.S. city chosen for the event.

"It's one of those kinds of events that sets us apart," said Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, who attended the event with his two daughters.

"We want to be a hip city, and events like these are what will do that."

Shelley Rossetter can be reached at srossetter@sptimes.com or (813) 661-2442.

High winds add to wild times at Flugtag in Tampa 10/08/11 [Last modified: Sunday, October 9, 2011 5:58pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. From the food editor: Three ways to curb your red meat cravings

    Cooking

    After a certain point in my life, it became a reliable joke at the house of one my best friends: Michelle loves meat.

  2. HomeTeam 100: Players 41-50

    Footballpreps

    Bulldog QB Charles Harrison III, (12) during the fourth quarter of the Zephyrhills at Nature Coast High School football game on Friday, 11/11/16.
  3. For Dunkirk veteran, movie brings back different memories

    Human Interest

    Movies like the World War II epic Dunkirk are popular escapes from reality.

    Fred Clutterbuck poses for a photo in front of the "Dunkirk" movie poster at the Cobb Theatre in Tyrone on Friday. Clutterback is a survivor of the Dunkirk evacuation. (EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times)
  4. Coquina Key Neighborhood Association to hold forum for District 6 council candidates

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Coquina Key Neighborhood Association is inviting residents to meet the crowded field of candidates running for St. Petersburg's City Council District 6 at a forum Monday evening.

    International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement-affiliated City Council candidate Eritha "Akile" Cainion pauses between answers during a forum at the Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront earlier this month. The Coquina Key Neighborhood Association plans to hold another forum on Monday evening from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Coquina Key Neighborhood Association Clubhouse, 3850 Pompano Drive SE. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  5. Lake Tarpon bass tournament still going strong after nearly 40 years (w/video)

    Outdoors

    Matt Smith, left, and Gary Muchler, work to bring a large mouth bass into Smith's bass boat with only minutes to spare while fishing off Dolly Bay in Lake Tarpon during the Lake Tarpon Tuesday Night Bass Fishing Tournament on Tuesday (7/18/17). The fish sealed second place for the duo.