News

Engineers build flying contraption

The AMSE competed in the anual Flutag competition in Tampa, sponsored by Red Bull. The "flight crew" consisted of Thien Tran, junior, Matt Vautrain, sophomore, Ivan Zorn, junior, Jon Wickliff, junior, and Tom Knight, junior. (Photo courtesy Tom Knight)

Red Bull’s annual Flugtag event was held on Saturday at the Tampa Bay Convention Center, where the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) represented the University of Miami in competition.

Flugtag, which means “flying day” in German, requires competitors to build a homemade flying machine that is powered by humans. The contraption is then pushed off of a 30-foot high deck in the hopes that it will fly. More than 35 teams participated in the event and a team from St. Petersburg, Fla., took home the grand prize.

This was the second year that ASME competed for the Flugtag title. The UMiami Hurricane Engineers created a flying machine in five days for the competition. The machine weighed about 500 pounds and measured 12 feet tall. The wingspan was originally 30 feet, but was cut down to 25 on competition day because of gusty winds. Each team was judged on flight distance, creativity and showmanship. The event is not only a competition, but also a lively show for the audience.

“The teams set up inside a staging area and entertain the spectators while they wait to launch their machine,” said Tom Knight, the captain of this year’s team. “Then, the spectators vote on the gliders they like best via text message.” The teams are encouraged to dress in costumes and decorate their machine according to the theme they are representing. The Hurricane Engineers dressed as South Beach lifeguards. “We had a caped kid running around, a photographer, a tourist, snorkeler, various sunbathing girls, and one of the flight crew members was wearing a bikini and was a dude,” Knight said. “The machine had a red lifeguard stand and was painted to look like a rescue paddle boat. It was pretty simple because we were more concerned about the function.” Knight mentioned that there were a few teams that went above and beyond with the themes.

“There was a Willy Wonka team that had people dressed up as oompa loompas,” he said. Knight said the competition was fun even though they did not win. “The team was about 20 mechanical and aerospace engineers from ASME,” Knight said. “We still don’t know our score.”

President of ASME, Mariah Szpunar, said the experience was awesome and the team had a great time. “Flugtag was a chance for us to live out the days of Da Vinci when man first sought to take the skies,” Szpunar said. “If they had as much fun as we did building and making a splash, perhaps flight would have been invented before the Wright brothers.”

The team’s loss will not discourage ASME from competing in the Flugtag event next year.

October 11, 2011

Reporters

Elizabeth De Armas


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

When Edgar Michelangeli stepped up to bat on Saturday, there was pressure. So much pressure. There w ...

On a day when the newest University of Miami football players – including heralded prep quarterback ...

How much does 44 years of history weigh? That is what these Miami Hurricanes baseball players carry ...

That nation-leading, 44-year NCAA tournament streak is not over yet. One swing of the bat on Saturda ...

View photos from the Virginia Tech at Miami Saturday, May 20, 20017, in Coral Galbes, Fla. … Click t ...

Victor Oquendo, BSC ’09, is following in his parents’ footsteps. ...

The Rosenstiel School’s final lecture of the 2017 Sea Secrets series focused on using science diplom ...

Researchers believe they have found a new way to monitor the intensity and location of hurricanes fr ...

The University of Miami welcomed nearly 3,800 new graduates into the UM alumni family during six cer ...

Speakers urge UM’s graduating students to use their skills and talents to make a difference. ...

The No. 13-ranked University of Miami women's golf team was unable to crack the top eight in th ...

Miami junior Jeb Bargfeldt was among those recognized by the Atlantic Coast Conference with All-ACC ...

Check out photos from the Hurricanes during Day 2 competition at the NCAA Championship. ...

The University of Miami women's track and field team enters the NCAA East Preliminary ranked No ...

After sweeping its final regular season series with Virginia Tech, No. 6 seeded Miami will open its ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.