It's a bird!
It's a plane!
It's ... uh ... no, seriously, what is that thing? Because whatever it is, it's is definitely not flying. It's nose-diving straight into the waters off Bayfront Park, in fact, all while the people in crazy costumes who were driving it are dancing on the platform above - or cannonballing into the surf along with their handmade contraption.
Whatever it is, it must be Red Bull Flugtag.
The zany flying contest returns to Miami Saturday, bringing with it 34 teams who hope to test their DIY airplanes, floats, and random wacky traveling vessels against the forces of gravity, physics, and what should have been their better judgment. This year, ten Miami teams will hurl themselves and their incredible falling machines off the platform -- and some have pretty impressive qualifications, including engineering and aviation credentials, and even the notoriety that comes with running a bar for a full century. Check 'em out, along with their own sketches of their "aircraft," after the jump.
$2.50 is comprised of a professor and his students, all from the Art Institute of Miami. These are some very hip art students, as you can tell from their aircraft design, which was inspired by a mustache. But they're not too hip to hint that their pre-flight skit will be based on "Gangnam Style." One hopes that their team name was not derived from the amount spent on building materials.
Chance of winning: Half in half. These are artists, not scientists -- but the aerodynamic nature of the mustache is well known.
Los Flamingos Enojados are also students, hailing from FIU and aiming for the People's Choice award. "What could be funnier than grown men dressed in pink costumes on stage?" they reason.
Chance of winning: Unlikely. The Flamingocraft looks front-heavy, and we're pretty sure there are many things funnier than dudes wearing pink. Sorry, guys.
Now here's a team with the chops to take home the People's Choice award. Team Bacon plans to give bacon out to fans during the Flugtag. They have the Miami fat kid vote locked.
Chance of winning: Next to zero chance for distance -- these guys modeled their craft after an iron skillet, after all. But like we said, everyone appreciates free food. We give them a 3:1 odds (calculated unscientifically, of course) at People's Choice.
A marijuana-themed aircraft? No. A plane manned by a team of mentally troubled individuals who've all been institutionalized under the Baker Act? Nope. These are merely students at the George T. Baker Aviation School, which means they have a pretty great chance at going the distance, even if their theme is a little snoozy.
Chance of winning: Pretty awesome. These kids study planes for a living.
It's a flying smoothie in a blender, put together by team members who work for an appliance and food distributor. So, uh, yeah.
Chances of winning: Zip. Sorry, guys. But really? A blender?
These Miami Dade College students take inspiration from the classics: The genius of Leonardo Da Vinci, and the sheer awesomeness of The Avengers. They're engineering students who claim to enjoy long walks on the beach mixed with emotional talks about advanced mathematics and physics. Or, in other words: NERRRRDS.
Chances of winning: Super. Have you seen Revenge of the Nerds? These guys are destined to come out on top.
Hurricane Engineers' Angry Birds
Oh hey, Angry Birds is still a thing. And these University of Miami students, all members of the American Society of Mechanical Engineering, are using the dated reference to make those green pigs fly (hopefully).
Chances of winning: Decent. They have the engineering chops, and also experience; the team pilot and captain took part in last year's Red Bull Flugtag in Tampa.
This is all we know about the Space Cadets: There are two of them. They are really into Red Bull: "Red Bull helps our team go to space; Red Bull is the fuel that keeps space going." And they come with ladies: "Our girls know how to push us forward."
Chances of winning: These dudes sound unhinged. And Red Bull Flugtag is, in essence, a totally unhinged event. These crazy kids could take the whole thing.
The IronManning Iron Men
Double meaning alert! The team members are triathletes who are inspired by Iron Man competitions. And their aircraft is basically just a giant replica of a suited-up Tony Stark. Nice Miami tie-in, y'all.
Chances of winning: Who cares about the competition; this team has already won our hearts with the following statement: "We felt a giant 'Miami zombie on bath salts' craft was too soon and in poor taste."
Tobacco Road's Band of Road Warriors
Tobacco Road celebrates 100 years in business this year. And what better way to commemorate the occasion than driving yourself off a platform in a giant birthday cake?
Chances of winning: None whatsoever. But with a century of history, Tobacco Road has already pretty much won at life, so it's cool.