It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Sparky the Sun Devil mascot?
As Red Bull Flugtag returns to the Valley today, 33 teams from around the country will go head-to-head to prove just about anything can fly. If only briefly.
“Flugtag” is translated to mean “flying day” in German. In keeping with that spirit, the variously shaped contraptions will be piloted off a 30-foot ramp above Tempe Town Lake. All flying machines must be completely human-powered, less than 30 feet wide and weigh no more than 450 pounds, including the pilot.
This year, audiences will have front row seats for the latest battle in the age-old war between Arizona State University, the University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University.
At 1 p.m., the Dipsomaniacal Devil team from ASU will be the first to launch.
“We are always ready for a challenge,” says Devil team captain Christoph Weber. “Especially when there are teams from the University of Arizona present for us to defeat and publicly humiliate on our home turf!”
Dipsomania means having an uncontrollable craving for alcoholic beverages, which fits into ASU’s long-standing reputation as a party school.
“We go to ASU and are all dedicated dipsomaniacs,” Weber says. “We will also be dressing up in ’80s hair metal garb and rocking out to Twisted Sister’s ‘I Wanna Rock,’ which pretty much wraps up our philosophy in three words.”
Thus, their 30-foot replica of Sparky will be toting a “beverage bong” and a hang-glider to, hopefully, facilitate flight.
Launching after Sparky will be a Screaming Eagle, Air Force One and many other interesting crafts with wings.
The various teams are competing for a bundle of daring prizes including sky diving lessons. Gates open to the public at 11 a.m., and this is one day not to turn an eye from the sky.
Red Bull Flugtag
When: 11 a.m today
Where: Tempe Town Lake, Mill Avenue and Rio Salado Parkway
How much: Free
Information: www.redbullflugtag arizona.com