Sunday, August 03, 2008
Sunday, August 3, Red Bull Flugtag on the Willamette River
I got this photo from Red Bull USA, mainly because I was sitting out of your sight, on the right side of the photo, between that cone-topped hotel and the Willamette River. What a fine time I had, one of the 80,000 people who came out to cheer on the 31 teams. You can read all about the Portland Red Bull Flugtag at the event recap. Or you can take a moment with this Flugtag story from the Oregonian’s Web site.
The official event started with three skydivers from a helicopter at 4,000 feet. Here you see the first and second ones, coming if for a landing on the Red Bull flight deck.
Now I've got a series of photos of the team that won it all, Team Yakima, whose craft flew 62 feet from the edge of the 25-foot-tall deck out above the Willamette River.
It's a giant Big Wheel!
This yellow covering hid their ultimate flying method. The team had a heck of a time getting it off--suspense!
The pilot is on board, while the rest of the team pushes for the edge of the flight deck.
The speed must be faster than it seemed from my vantage point--look at those camera people hot-footing it!
Up, up and ...
... away! Note the splash--that's one team member, other than the pilot. Then you see the man jumping and the other two team members still on the deck, along with Red Bull people in blue shirts.
The two white personal water craft gather the team members as the blue boat makes its way over to haul off crashed big wheel parts.
Those floating markers allow for measurements--the large one is 50 feet, with the next small one marking 60 feet. The piece that lands farthest from the deck that counts for distance.
All five team members catch a ride to the dock beside the Riverplace Marina.
On my way home on the 15 bus, on the sidewalk I saw a man wearing a red foam cowboy hat, carrying a Big Wheel in each hand, and wearing a jumpsuit with Yakima on the back. I got off at the next stop, to ask if I could take his picture and tell him how much I enjoyed the show. He's the one who told that they finished first with their 62-foot flight! I can't get Flickr to upload the photo, for some reason. I'm out of time today to try it again because I need to get ready to go to the Oregon Zoo Concert with the Crusaders and Tower of Power.
HOME HANGAR: Beaverton, OR
PILOT: David Fee
FLIGHT CREW: Dave Condon, Zac Elder, Joel Grabenstein, John Hoppes, Keith MacLeod, Jeff Nelson, Eric Roesinger, Chris Sautter, Dylan VanWeelden, Joe Young
ITINERARY: "We're all employees of Yakima Products, and we're based in Beaverton," says David Fee, captain of Team Hot For Teacher. "A lot of people don't know Yakima is local." Yakima is, of course, the company that's been making "bomber quality" racks and other automobile accessories – for bikes, skis, camping gear, and whatever anyone could possibly want to have fun with – for more than 25 years. And Yakima's employees are known for loving the outdoors and good times as much as their customers do.
A Yak group built a three-times-scale Big Wheel for the 2007 Portland Adult Soapbox Derby. "It really brought out our inner children," David remembers, noting that employees still ride it weekly. "It's a performance machine: disk brakes, welded steel, the whole bit. We've hit 35 miles per hour on it!" The teammates love their oversize trike so much that they decided to build one three times larger still for Red Bull Flugtag Portland. On August 2, the Yakima motto of "Go Mighty" will come alive when the team's fifteen-foot-long Big Wheel speeds down the flight deck and blasts into the Portland skies. "We really are going to get it to fly – part of it, anyway," David promises. "That will be the biggest challenge. Oh, and finding a wheel that's eight feet tall."
© 2008 Red Bull North America, Inc. |