Hub’s would-be fliers offered a chance to soar in Red Bull fest

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BOSTON – The competitors will soar into the air – they hope – this summer, during the Red Bull Flugtag,  a homemade flying craft battle slated to take place in the Hub for the first time in the annual event’s 25-year history.

Wannabe aviators will take wing – or not – on Aug. 20, getting an aerial jumpstart from launching off a “flight deck” 28 feet above the murky depths of the Charles River. The goal will be to break the 258-foot distance record set in Long Beach, California, in 2013’s contest.

The deck will be constructed along the banks of the Esplanade at the Hatch Memorial Shell, where judges will score entrants on flight distance, creativity of the craft and showmanship.

“This one-of-a-kind event will encourage individuals to showcase their creativity in what will be a unique and memorable experience for all who attend,” Leo Roy, commissioner of the state Department of Conservation and Recreation, said in a statement.

The competition dates back to 1991, when the first Red Bull Flugtag – that translates to “flying day” in German – held events in cities around the world, challenging local entrants to build and pilot their homemade human-powered machines.

In the past, applicants have drawn design inspiration from food, pop-culture, sports, music, technology, mythology and even have gone as far as farm animals. To compete, entrants must be 18 or over, and wear helmets and life jackets, Red Bull says on its contest website – an acknowledgement that the flights won’t last long.

To qualify, teams of up to five members, which over the years have included  carpenters, athletes, designers, engineers, and entertainers, must submit craft designs to by May 13. There’s no entry fee. After review, Red Bull will select competitors by June 2. Craft designs are subject to safety review and adjustments, and entrants must be able to swim at least 100 yards unaided.

Another U.S. competition this year will take place in Louisville, Kentucky, on Aug. 27.

Design nerds, pilots and ground crews – start your engines!