From DaVinci to Red Bull: FLUGTAG
By Derek Obregon
IE represents at Red Bull FLUGTAG with Top Gun
“I feel the need, the need for speed!” That’s usually what action sports enthusiast David Fontneau claims as his mantra, but soon, he will be slowing things down for a competition unlike any other: Flugtag.
Flugtag has been happening unofficially ever since Leonardo Da Vinci first sketched some flying machines back in the 1480s! The first official Flugtag started in Vienna, Austria in ‘92 and made its American debut in 2002. This game is awesome.
You need one fearless pilot, four members to push you into flight-mode, and one self constructed flying machine. It can have a max wingspan of 28 feet and a max weight of 400 pounds (including the pilot).
One local I.E. team from Murrieta was chosen out of thousands of applicants to compete in this one-of-a-kind event. Their team name is Top Gun, and the “Maverick” of the mission, David Fontneau, explained more.
“We figured it would be a fun idea to do something that commemorated the United States since it’s the first national Flugtag. It will be held simultaneously in five states across the U.S.,” Fontneau said. What better way than to base their craft off of an iconic fighter jet, the P-51 Mustang?
To create this masterpiece, the process was short and sweet. They had a team member weld together steel pipe with some metal sheeting. Then, a whole lot of spray paint was applied. “We didn’t know how well our plane is going to fly [since none of us are artists or engineers], but we definitely wanted to make one that at least looks legit.”
Some people do it purely for laughs while others are trying to beat the current U.S. record flight height of 207 feet. When asked about the flight predictions, Fontneau replied, “Honestly, we’re just hoping it flies and doesn’t just do a straight nosedive.”
This P-51 mustang may not go as far as its war-tested predecessors, but luckily, flight is only one of the three criteria needed for this competition.
Celebrity judges are also looking for creativity and showmanship. The winning team has to glide gracefully over the water in a craft that looks as good as the crew pushing it off the 30 foot platform. You can even sway a win if your skit shows off a team of committed characters in an entertaining way.
When I asked about their skit, no information was given up. It was just like the scene from the movie Top Gun when Maverick wouldn’t tell Charlie where he saw a Mig-28 do a 4-G negative dive because that information was “classified.”
“We ran a lot of ideas by. A lot of us come from an action sports background so most of our ideas had a lot to do with some of our guys doing flips into the water and stuff, but what we ended up finalizing on is a much better idea.”
Team Top Gun plans on making the I.E. proud and wants to win one for the West Coast. They may be unpredictable and dangerous, but this group of daredevils can be our wingmen anytime!
National Red Bull FLUGTAG at Rainbow Harbor in Long Beach. Sat., Sept. 21, 10AM. redbullflugtagusa.com