After literally years of anticipation, I finally attended my first Red Bull Flugtag this past Saturday, November 10th. The sun was out, the aircraft had a light headwind, and visibility was clear. That is, conditions were perfect for the teams to fly straight downward and cannonball into McCovey Cove.
For those not familiar, Flugtag ("fly day" in German) is an event that invites people to design and construct purpose-built flying (and/or falling) machines, to be judged on some unpredictable combination of distance, creativity, and showmanship.
The Flugtag world record of over 200 feet illustrates the distance that a well-engineered, well-flown craft can accomplish. What I saw on Saturday, though, was essentially a demonstration of how stylishly a craft could trip off of the edge of the flight deck and casually face-plant into the water.