Friday, August 08, 2008

Red Bull Flugtag, Teams Pink Viking, Chips 'n' Dips, Naugahyde Numskulls, PDX Flyers, Banana Bonanza

Team Pink Viking jumps with wild abandon. One of them is upside down!

How about these hats? The horns stayed on!

PILOT: Amanda Knoedler
FLIGHT CREW: Brian Billiter, Chris Combs (off-deck support), Scott Dixon (off-deck support), Seth Henderson, Josh Johnston, Scott Petersen

ITINERARY: Anyone who’s ever watched rugby knows that rugby players are tough. Unstoppable. Oblivious to pain, cauliflower ears, and random jokes about what it means to be part of a “scrum.” In Portland, a special breed who appreciate rugby hang out at North 45 Pub to watch OSU matches – and plan their Flugtag victory.

“The construction of our aircraft, the Pink Viking, is an elaborate process that we’re taking one pint at a time,” says Josh Johnston, the owner of North 45 and captain of the Pink Viking team. Inspired by a legendary culture whose reputation is as fearsome as that of any menacing rugby pack, Josh and teammates Brian Billiter, Chris Combs, Scott Dixon, Seth Henderson, Amanda Knoedler, and Scott Petersen are building a replica of a Viking drakkar, or dragon ship. “Pink Viking’s version of the drakkar will be made of canvas, pipe, and a giant pink hang glider fastened atop as our sail,” Josh explains. Supported by pounding drums and chanting spectators, the Pink Viking teammates will throw down a presentation evoking “The Haka” – an intimidating Maori-inspired war dance that the dreaded New Zealand All Blacks rugby team performs before every international contest. Josh vows, “Pink Viking will definitely give the crowd something they’ve never seen before.”

Team Chips 'n' Dips stirred up a treat for the crowd.

The pilot gets situated in the dip bowl.

Love this huge chip!

The chips and dip heads for the drink.

This makes me think of the Flying Burrito Brothers.
PILOT: Kees Beemster Leverenz
FLIGHT CREW: Shane Boland, Riley MacPhee, Will Pigott, Will Sweeney-Samuelson

ITINERARY: Are Shane Boland, Kees Beemster Leverenz, Riley MacPhee, Will Pigott, and Will Sweeney-Samuelson mind-blowing philosophers, or just a bunch of dips? No fair peeking at the name of their entry – listen and judge for yourself: “Flugtag is a chance for a generation inundated with media and life-made-easy electronics to step back and think for ourselves, creating a tangible expression of our ingenuity and determination,” says Beemster Leverenz, as Pigott chimes in, “It’s an opportunity to dream, and maybe even fly.” Riffing on that motif, Boland expounds, “We have imaginations that soar like mighty falcons above a calculating world full of naysayers and accountants – our craft will be fueled by our limitless yearning for glory and buoyed by our incomparable optimism.” Sweeney-Samuelson nods, “When you can tap into the cosmic ether and harness the sparkle of the stars, you have little to fear from terrestrial competition.”

Although these visionaries now spend the school year at colleges from coast to coast, they all grew up together in Seattle. The concept for their “Tortilla Chip Air Ship” was born from the heretofore unexplored aerodynamic possibilities of processed corn products – and growing young men’s preoccupation with between-meal snacks. “We’ve already got a salsa suit for our pilot,” states MacPhee. “On August 2, we’ll hope for a good headwind and let the chips fall where they may.”

Here's something totally unique, Team Naugahyde Numskulls.

The edge of the flight deck beckons. Wait. What's that dangling from the craft?

It's a stowaway! See what I mean about finding neat stuff when I crop these photos?

She got a ride to the pier, just like a real team member.

PILOT: Kris Roberts
FLIGHT CREW: Mark Adams, Lisa Angst, Scott Henriksen, Matt Huntley

ITINERARY: The Naugahyde Numskulls have a unique Flugtag strategy: "In a word, it's Geekosity," explains Matt Huntley, a Portland-area computer engineer and special effects artiste. "The shared impairment of the voting audience," hazards Mark Adams, a local government bean-counter. Finally, a telemarketer with a name that's all too appropriate for membership in this oddball group – Lisa Angst – sums up, "We're counting on sympathy votes." Joined by chemistry manager Scott Henriksen and production-manager/theater-student Kris Roberts, they're going to be putting the "Imp" in Impaired, the "eek" in Geekitude, and their dignity in the Willamette by bringing the WoW factor to Tom McCall Waterfront Park.
These teammates will be “honoring” the World of Warcraft, a multiplayer game set in a fantasy universe, where players can be lord of their domain without ever leaving their mom's basement. And why not? Sure, WoW is the kind of activity that sentient beings admit to only in the anonymity of dimly lit chatrooms; but there are millions of players out there, people. Millions. Can a fan base larger than the entire population of Oregon be wrong? Just in case there are any haters in the audience, though, the Naugahyde Numskulls are stacking their deck with an asset that will appeal to everyone with a love for the absurd: an interpretive dance tribute to the YouTube/WoW greatest musical hits.

PDX Flyers came from the Port of Portland which owns and operates four area airports.

Are those fairy wings on one of the team members, there at the edge of the flight deck?

Every team member made a successful landing in the Willamette.
PILOT: Steve Koester
FLIGHT CREW: Ava Frank, Walt Haynes, Melissa Porter (off-deck captain), Jenna Smith, Josh Thomas

ITINERARY: “We speak the international language of flight,” says captain Melissa Porter of her Flugtag team. The “PDX Flyers,” as they’re calling themselves, are all employees of the Port of Portland, which owns and operates four airports. The Port’s motto is “Possibility in every direction,” and Flying Day teammates Ava Frank, Walt Haynes, Steve Koester, Jenna Smith, and Josh Thomas (supported by Melissa and a number of other employees behind the scenes) feel that they have more than just the “possibility” of flying into fame. “We represent both the aviation and marine sides of the port – that means we have expertise in both the air and the water, which is perfect for this event,” explains Steve, who will man the controls of the group’s human-powered craft. He goes on, “Many of us are actual airplane pilots.”

With the team members’ collective know-how, they thought it only fitting to construct an airplane-shaped flying machine, which they’re building using PVC, vinyl, recycled carpet tubes, and “random odds and ends.” They’ve also recruited a local musician to compose a song for their skit. When asked if all this preparation will result in actual flight, Melissa grins and states, “YES! We are totally betting on it. But in the case of a water landing, the seat cushion can be used as a floatation device.”

Yep, one team really did go bananas at the competition!


HOME HANGAR: Beaverton, OR
PILOT: Sean Devlin
FLIGHT CREW: Will Cahoe, Ceci Estraviz, Lauren Macey, Sean O’Hollaren

ITINERARY: You can’t help but love some Red Bull Flugtag Portland teams. Take the Banana Bonanza crew from Beaverton – they’re just naturally apeeling. Will Cahoe, Sean Devlin, Ceci Estraviz, Lauren Macey, and Sean O’Hollaren recently graduated from high school, and they’re a tight bunch. Sure, they’re a little green – but what they lack in experience, they make up for with enthusiasm. “Ceci got a banana costume for Halloween and needs to get more use out of it!” says Devlin, the team’s pilot. “We all wanted to get one, too!” It’s clear these teenagers have soft spots for one another, so why shouldn’t they spend their last summer before college building a banana boat that really is a boat made of bananas?

Of course, they see it as an aircraft. “When the time is ripe,” Devlin explains, “we’ll present our Banana Bonanza to the Flugtag faithful and weigh in with a flight that will be unforgettable no matter how you slice it.” The 18-year-old acknowledges that the 30-foot vertical drop from the flight deck has been a hot tropic – make that topic – among his teammates; but they’re not yellow, and they don’t plan to slip up. “We may be young, but our courage won’t dessert us,” Sean states. “We know it’s a jungle out there.”

No comments: