Wings made out of cardboard, parts attached with chicken wire – these are some of the features of the gimmicky ‘flying machines’ that took off from a 20-foot ramp and then plunge into the chilly waters of the Serpentine in Hyde Park, London, on Saturday.
Red Bull’s “Flugtag 2008” is a competition in which home inventors “fly” their machines as far as they can off the starting ramp, while winning points for style, in an homage to the pioneers of aviation, the Daily Telegraph reported.
But no matter how far they go, all will eventually meet a cold, watery end. Flugtag, which means “flying day” in Austrian, is all about constructing flying machines that plummet to the water within yards of take-off, the Telegraph reported.
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Alex Raffle, the mastermind behind one of the competing machines, said his design changed over time.
"We had wanted to use aluminum," Raffle told the Telegraph. "But it would have cost $390. We are on a much tighter budget than our competitors. The original idea was to have six wings, so they looked like the pages of a book flapping in the wind. But we have had to simplify the design."
That did not dampen his Flugtag spirits, however. "We're in it to win it," Raffle insisted to the Telegraph.
According to event organizers, the winner will be "the one that not only flies the furthest, but also impresses the judges and crowd with their preflight performance and displays the best design and originality in their flying machine and team.”