I’ve wanted to see the Red Bull Flugtag since the first time I saw it advertised more than 6 years ago.  The commercial—in heavy rotation on late night TV—promised a day of costumed crazies, and genuine thrill seekers, launching absurd homemade (man-powered) aircraft from a 30-foot high pier; presumably to see who could travel farthest before crash (!) landing in the water. I knew instantly that I had to go someday.

For those who haven’t seen the commercials, and who are saying ‘big whoop, nerd’ right this second, what makes this event interesting to folks beyond aeronautical engineers is that entries are judged on creativity and showmanship as much as distance. Which is good. Because ironically—flugtag literally means “flight day”—very few really take flight. Most just sort of limp to the end of the runway and topple off the edge. But that’s only after the team gets thirty seconds to win over the judges with a skit. I guess that’s what keeps the killjoys from ruining this by over thinking it.

Anyway, as soon as I found it was going to be in SF this year, I marked my calendar. I might have even let out a tiny little girlie squeal. My mission these days is to get out and see and do new things, so I put aside my aversion to crowds, and traffic, and people who drink Red Bull, and headed down to McCovey Cove with the family and my camera to finally see this spectacle for myself.  

We had an awesome time. Following are some of my favorite shots from the day.

One of my faves of the day. This was the R. Kelly entry. He believed he could fly. He was wrong.