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

The Miami Hurricanes found new life Saturday — despite so much seemingly going wrong. Big plays on o ...

At least in terms of their bowl situation, the Miami Hurricanes can take a deep, collective breath. ...

Thoughts, notes, reaction and postscripts after UM’s 38-14 win on Saturday at Virginia Tech, making ...

There wasn’t much energy in the Watsco Center stands on Saturday afternoon as most University of Mia ...

View photos from the Bethune-Cookman wildcats at Miami Hurricanes in a NCAA college basketball game ...

UM Libraries is presenting an extraordinary exhibit that immerses the audience in an emotional journ ...

A UM researcher is helping to lead a study on how smoke interacts with clouds and its impact on the ...

People are bombarded with news and information these days, providing opportunities for discourse tha ...

Students, faculty and staff stopped by the School of Architecture’s Korach Gallery to learn what Mag ...

The On Campus event featured innovative National Geographic Explorers—photographers, scientists, sto ...

The Canes got back to their winning ways with an impressive 38-14 victory at Virginia Tech. ...

20-point performances from Chris Lykes and DJ Vasiljevic led Miami past Bethune-Cookman. ...

Seniors Kolby Bird and Haley Templeton will play in their final match at the James L. Knight Sports ...

The No. 24 Miami women's basketball team is headed to Iowa State for the Preseason WNIT champio ...

The Canes hit the road for the final time in the 2018 regular season and it is to a familiar and hos ...

TMH Twitter
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 in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.