Photo archive (partial)

Buy prints, downloads, or license images from our archives:

Flugtag hits Portland Sunday, August 03, 2008

The "Back to the Future" craft plunges into the Willamette River Aug. 2 followed by members of its pushing crew at Flugtag Portland 2008. More than 80,000 people flocked to Tom McCall Waterfront Park Saturday afternoon to watch 31 teams from across the West compete in the event.

Sponsored by Red Bull, Flugtag started in Austria in 1991. More than 40 events later, "flying day" has spread around the world from Ireland to San Francisco.

This Saturday, it made its second trip to the Rose City. Flugtag is a little too commercialized to be truly hip, but it is the kind of weird that Portland loves. More than 80,000 packed into Waterfront Park to watch competitors push homemade "flying" vehicles off a 25-foot high ramp into the Willamette River.

The teams are ostensibly competing for distance, but clearly creativity and panache are at least as important. Entries were modeled on a range of themes from Lego airplanes to a Chinese food take-out box.

Read more about the event on the official website. The Oregonian's report is here.

[right] Team Yakima used their Big Wheel-themed glider to maximum effect, winning first prize with a 62-foot flight. [below] Competitors and their homemade craft wait in the staging area before launch.

[below left] Tom McCall Waterfront Park was packed for the event, and dozens of boats crowded the Willamette River as well. [below right] Event staff clean up the wreckage of "Space Balls," a team from Everett, Wash., based on the 1987 Star Wars spoof. Although the vehicle broke apart as it left the launch ramp, the team went home with the People's Choice award.