Red Bull Flugtag Returns to Austin

There’s a simple explanation for how we’re brought into this world, but how exactly is the pilot of a homemade, human-powered flying craft produced?

When Kevin Stanley, 22, heard of the first Flugtag Texas, in 2003, it was too late to gather a team of Austinites to compete, but that lit the fire inside of him and kept him stoked for this year’s event. “Last time, I saw some Aggies push Bevo off,” he said. “I’ve kept talking about it since.”

After hearing that Red Bull Flugtag was coming back to Austin, Stanley began organizing his crew. “We all work on cars,” said teammate Jack Landau, 22. And that brought them together 10 years ago.

Almost 300 teams submitted entries to Flugtag Texas ’07, with only 29 making the final cut. The teams were selected based on “distance, showmanship, and creativity.” Red Bull representative Ellie Applen said they pick “which ones look the most promising for a great overall show.”

Aug. 25 marks an important day, as this is the first Flugnächt (flying night) held in the U.S., the only other held last year in Croatia. “I am really excited to see the event under lights,” said Applen.

The team started meeting and brainstorming about three weeks before deadline. “One of the guys said, ‘Since we’re flint-stoning it anyway, why don’t we make the Flintstones’ car?’” Landau explained. And team StoneAge was born.

Primitive? Maybe. Green? Definitely. The members of team StoneAge went out of their way to build in an environmentally conscious manner.

The wheels of the Flintstones-like car are empty Dr Pepper barrels, and parts of the wings are made of old electrical conduits. “We bought the tarps because we didn’t think it was a safe idea to use secondhand ones,” said Stanley, who is experienced in hang gliding and will pilot the team’s aircraft. Their idea: maximum strength with minimum material.

If team StoneAge wins, “We’re going to wrestle it out for the [pilot] lessons,” said Irving Seligman, 22, team captain.

On Saturday, Aug. 25, Red Bull Flugtag returns to Auditorium Shores with the homemade human-powered flying-machine fun starting at 6:30pm (gates at 5pm). And, it’s free.

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