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Beachcomber
5199 E. Pacific Coast Hwy. #608
Post Office Box 15679
Long Beach California, 90815-0679
Phone: (562) 597-8000
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Feature Stories

Flugtag Packs Shoreline Village

From Issue: Volume XXI - Number 20
10/4/2013


By Alex Campbell


Alex Campbell

It’s a hazy Saturday morning in Shoreline Village. The hot weather of the previous weeks is finally giving way to the cool autumn air. Though the sun has yet to burn away the thick, gray marine layer, one by one, people are staking out their territory for the 2013 Long Beach Red Bull Flugtag.

The first Red Bull Flugtag – that’s German for “flying day” – was first celebrated in Vienna, Austria in 1992. The September 21 national Flugtag was held in 5 U.S. cities simultaneously, where spectators in Dallas/Fort Worth, Tx.; Miami, Fl.; Chicago, Ill.; Washington, D.C. and, Long Beach, Calif. watched teams pilots of half-baked gliders fly, float or freefall into a body of water.

This year in Long Beach, 28 teams sent their craft and hapless pilots careening into Rainbow Harbor. With each attempt, laughs or cheers erupted from the nearly impassible crowds that packed the boardwalk of Shoreline Village and the grass near the lighthouse.

A team from Legends Sports Bar in Belmont Shore took second place with pilot George Shano and their entry, “The Legendary Flying Machine.” Modeled after Howard Hughes’ Spruce Goose, Shano’s craft made an impressively soft landing on the flying boat hull.

Later, cheers erupted as pilot Laura Shane broke the Flugtag world record with her team’s entry, “The Chicken Whisperers.” The chicken suit-clad team from San Francisco floated 258 feet, decimating the previous record of 228 feet. The previous record was held by a team of Germans who made their flight in 2012 in Mainz, Germany.

alex@longbeachcomber.com