Flugtag hits Philadelphia (well Camden really)

    On entrant takes his inspiration from Calvin and Hobbes

    This weekend dozens of people will throw themselves off of 30 foot drop, fueled by the notion that they can fly. It’s not a mass hallucination, it’s a contest sponsored by an energy drink to make the unusual glider. The Red Bull Flugtag is more caffeine-inspired silliness than feats of engineering.

    Remember the comic strip, Calvin and Hobbes? The little towheaded boy would conduct philosophical conversations with his stuffed tiger Hobbes while riding a red wagon downhill – at breakneck speeds – toward the edge of a cliff.

    “That’s always inspired me,” says Dennis Coltrane, an avid skydiver, made a contraption based on Calvin and Hobbes to hurl himself off the temporary platform built above the Camden waterfront.

    “A lot of people in Europe do base jumps off of 3,000 or 4,000 meter cliffs, and sometimes in the winter they will ride little plastic sleds over the edge. It’s something inspired by the strip.”

    Many of the 34 flying machines built for the contest are designed to fail. A flying boxing ring, with Rocky in the center? Of course, that’s what the expected crowd will be waiting for.

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