Red Bull Flugtag Wows the Crowds in Doha
More than 20,000 people flocked to the Museum of Islamic Art Park on the Doha Corniche to watch the inaugural Red Bull Flugtag on Friday 1 November.
The crowd watched as 34 unique people-powered aircraft took to the skies during the event, held under the patronage of HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Chairperson of Qatar Museums Authority.
Hoisting the contraptions off a runway, the teams hoped to see their masterpieces glide for at least a few metres. However, despite the fact that competitors had spent months brainstorming and building their contraptions in the lead up to the big day, most of the crafts met almost immediate doom, nose diving straight into the water, much to the entertainment of the spectators.
With creative team names like Bat Brick, Camel Airways, Three Pilots and a Hairdresser, Toothless Dragon, Sheik’s Tent and The Angry Birds team, the competitors all came up with imaginative designs.
Team Spirit of Paris had an amazing set up in the holding area with a flying Citroën contraption alongside a makeshift patisserie with baguettes laid out on the table – they truly embodied the spirit of the French capital.
Team members of Toothless Dragon were draped in tartan sashes and painted their faces white. Team Captain, Ibrahim Kayum, and his team mates Faheem Mohammed, Ziyad Mohamed and Mithun Kadri, began working on their dragon three months ago, inspired by the popular children’s story How to Train Your Dragon. Ibrahim said Toothless Dragon had practiced hard for their performance. “We are marked on three categories – performance, creativeness and, of course, distance, so we are hoping to win points for our performance,” he said in the lead-up to their appearance, which included a Highland Jig.
Speaking to teammates and spectators, there was a general feeling that everyone was excited to be a part of something unique taking place for the first time in Doha.
Another team that caught our attention was the Pinkcredibles, with their ‘flying machine’ named Flip Flap Fly. The five spirited ladies, dressed head to toe in pink, had a whale of a time while raising funds for breast cancer awareness.
However, at the end of the very warm day, there could only be one overall winner, the aptly named Three Pilots and a Hairdresser team, which managed to coax their craft (which actually looked like a plane) to fly for an impressive 38m. Team Spirit of Paris came in second, ahead of team The Equaliser team in third position.
Ramp Manager Justin Floyd, who was at the forefront of the action directing the teams off the edge of the runway, was impressed with the success of the day. “It was great to see so many teams take part in the very first Flugtag,” he said. “Everything ran smoothly without a hitch. I think the event was a fantastic success for Red Bull and Innovations Unlimited and I have no doubt next year’s event will be even bigger and maybe even break a few records.”
Here’s to hoping Flugtag is made an annual event.