Red Bull Cancels Flugtag, Chicagoans Miss out
The date was marked, and the flying machines were built. Today was supposed to be the Midwest's aerial event of the summer, as 28 teams were set to square off in Red Bull's third ever Flugtag in Chicago.
Windy City residents had experienced this scintillating competition in 2008 and 2003, but it appears that their four year wait will have get a bit longer, as the energy-drink company cancelled this afternoon's contest due to "unsafe marine conditions" in Lake Michigan.
While Flugtag fans will miss out on a 2012 lineup that included a giant red frog and an ode to the popular kids' TV show The Magic School Bus, this does give us an excuse to take a look back at some of the wackiest designs from the city's previous events.
Without further ado, here are 10 of the best flying machines that have graced the Chicago skyline in the past, back when Facebook was still considered exclusive and G-Dub was in the White House.
10. The Flying 'L'
As one of the most recognizable public transportation systems in the United States, the 'L' has been called one of the seven wonders of Chicago.
As if this distinction weren't enough, the elevated rail system was able to add to its accolades in 2008, when a group of Chicago Transit Authority workers thought that a Flugtag version of an 'L' rail car could fly.
They were wrong but sure had a one heck of a try.
9. The Flying Bartenders
Apparently, the Flying Bartenders' interpretive dance wasn't enough to propel them to victory, though their flying machine did make it a few feet off the Red Bull platform in 2008.
In a city that's known its diverse selection of nightlife, it now appears that even birds aren't safe from inebriated patrons.
8. The Wizard of Oz
We've all seen the classic tale of Dorothy, though this team's entry into Red Bull's 2008 contest may have fans wanting a redux.
Who knew that the Wicked Witch of the West could look so deranged while dancing to Drowning Pool's classic hit "Bodies."
7. The Chicago Flight Hawks
The Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010, but even the most ardent Patrick Kane fans might not have known that a certain Flugtag team predated this victory by two years.
While the Chicago Flight Hawks didn't experience much hang time, they certainly got points for style.
According to a survey by National Geographic, it's estimated that over one-third of Americans believe UFOs are actually alien spacecraft, not weather balloons.
If this team's Flugtag entry is any indication, 75,000 Chicagoans might have witnessed an extraterrestrial event first hand in 2008.
Fortunately for anxious onlookers, this particular UFO didn't make it very far off of the ground.
5. Purdue University Engineers
Ah, finally a Flugtag team that knows its aeronautics.
Or at least that's what these Purdue University engineering students thought before their Boeing-inspired boilermaker crashed and burned shortly after takeoff in 2008.
Lucky for us, all of the highlights, including those of a Top Gun-inspired intro, are available to watch at the click of a mouse.
At first glance, this flying machine's name evokes images of a sort of a Terminator-like cow creature.
Its entry into Chicago's inaugural Flugtag back in 2003 certainly doesn't disappoint.
While it was originally believed that the thrusters on the back of this cow-shaped craft would propel its creators to the competition's top prize, video highlights show that they may have been a bit too heavy.
3. The Crustacean Avengers
Not only did the Crustacean Avengers have the best intro music, but they also took home the grand prize in 2008, traveling 120 feet after initial launch.
In a contest in which most entrants failed to catch any of Lake Michigan's famed wind gusts, this team succeeded with a surprisingly simplistic design.
2. Heavy-Metal Santa
Make sure you have the volume turned up for this one.
Whether it's Heavy-Metal Santa's "I am Santa Claus" opening line or a certain saying on the back of his coat, the presentation is what makes this 2008 entry so hilarious.
Unfortunately for Kris Kringle, it seems that sleighs don't fly as well as they do in fairy tales.
1. Flight of Pigasus
That's the one word that comes to mind when watching Flight of Pigasus from Flugtag-ing's early days in Chicago.
Inspired by Red Bull's line of "when pigs fly" commercials, Pigasus has been synonymous with the company's contest ever since it failed to live up its name in 2003.
Check out the pilot's bail in slow motion near the end of this video. It seems that he didn't want to go down with his ship...err, pig.