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North Hills Monthly

Red Bull Flugtag Set to Take Flight at the Three Rivers Regatta

Jul 31, 2017 08:30PM ● By Clare Heekin Lynch

Team What Sphinx poses for a picture at Red Bull Flugtag in Boston, MA in August 2016

On Saturday, Aug. 5, Red Bull will celebrate its 26th anniversary of Flugtag at Pittsburgh’s 40th annual EQT Three Rivers Regatta. 

Red Bull Flugtag, which means “Flying Day” in German, is the world’s wildest, homemade, human-powered flying craft competition. During the family-friendly event, amateur aviation teams of five build homemade flying machines and send them off a 22-foot high flight deck into the Allegheny River to see which craft can fly the farthest. 

These “flying contraptions” range from realistic plane replicas to anything the mind can  imagine. Past crafts have been inspired by winged beasts, modern oddities, foods and fantastic blasts from the past.

Since the first Red Bull Flugtag took place in Vienna, Austria, in 1992, more than 100 Red Bull Flugtags have been held around the globe, attracting up to 300,000 spectators for a single event. The group also plans to hold a second event in Nashville, TN, in September.

Derek Weber, president of LionHeart Event Group, the event management company that produces the Regatta, shared his enthusiasm for the upcoming event. “Pittsburgh is known as the City of Champions, and we can’t wait to see the creative, unique flying machines that Pittsburghers think up to help our city make this Flugtag one for the record books,” he said in a press release. “It’s going to be a sight our city, and the regatta, has never seen!”

Fearless, fun-loving, and foolhardy teams will be judged on three criteria: flight distance, creativity of the craft and showmanship, with each group performing a skit to their favorite tune before taking the plunge and hoping to get some air. From roughly 200 submissions, 40 teams from Pittsburgh and surrounding areas have been picked to participate in this year’s event.

Some of the teams encouraged by Pittsburgh landmarks include Mr. Rogers’ Friendly Skies, The Peng-Wings, Polish Spill, The Pittsburgh Flying Parking Chair and Yinz Flock. All have put months of design, labor, practice and love into their crafts, costumes and routines for their five minutes of aviation fame. 

While the energy drink company’s event has seen contraptions in past events actually soar for a short distance, most plunge directly into the water, so fasten your seatbelt for some water-filled fun! 

For more information on the Red Bull Flugtag event in Pittsburgh, visit To stay up-to-date on all EQT Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta announcements, news, events and activities, visit