Red Bull Madness

 - November 3, 2008, 10:27 AM

The annual Red Bull Flugtag held in Portland, Ore., was witness to the Premier Jet line service staff’s attempt to fly their own bi-winged glider. The Premier Jet “Ramp Rats,” who work at Premier’s Carlsbad, Calif. FBO, enlisted the help of company pilots and mechanics to build the airplane. The wing was made of Styrofoam and fiberglass, “reinforced with dowels, string and pallet wrap,” according to the Rats. “The fuselage was a steel cage enclosing the pilot, Micah Allmon, in all of his 105-pound glory.” Thirty-one teams participated in the Flugtag, attempting to fly their gliders off a 30-foot pier at Tom McCall Waterfront Park on August 2.

According to the Premier Jet crew, “The Ramp Rats were the only team to generate any lift whatsoever as their craft lifted from the cart into a steep climb. The four pushers followed their launch platform off the pier and into the Willamette [River] and so didn’t witness the cataclysmic stall and subsequent nosedive into the river. In hindsight, it is clear that while the Ramp Rats strongly outperformed their competitors with regard to quality of construction, aerodynamics and pilot training teams, they neglected to follow through with basic weight-and-balance.”