It’s a Bird.. It’s a Plane.. It’s a Flying Minaret

This Saturday a group of University of Tampa students and alumni will launch their flying machine into the waters near City Park at the Tampa Convention Center as a part of the world famous Red Bull Flugtag Event.

Flugtag, meaning “flying day” in German, is hosted by the Red Bull Energy Drink Company. These “flying days” have been happening since 1991. In addition to Tampa in 2008, Chicago and Portland will also be hosting a Flugtag this year.

Several teams representing different organizations and companies throughout the Tampa Bay area will represent themselves by building a human-powered “flying machine.” The machines with their crew will then launch off of a deck above the water. Teams are assessed by their distance traveled, creativity and showmanship. This year in Tampa, there are 53 teams representing everything from MacDill Airforce Base’s Refueling Squadron to the Tampa Bay Derby Darlins.

The UT group calls themselves the UT Spartans and they will be flying one of Plant Hall’s Minarets which they have designed and built from scratch with funding from UT Student Government. They call it the “Flying Minaret.”

The team met through organization activities and different classes while studying at UT. Each has their own responsibility as a member, besides drink Red Bull and grow wings of course.

Kyle Wright a UT Alumnus is the captain of the team. Fahad AlHasan has the title of Artistic Consult. Noelle Etienne, a junior, created the Spartan costumes that the team will wear. Ryan Shaffer, ’08 alumnus, coordinates the skit. Cory Stahl, ’08 alumnus, designed the craft.

When thinking of the design, Wright said they were looking for something that would attract a lot of attention and give them a good chance of getting into the competition.

“Cory [Stahl] threw out the idea of a Minaret and since we are all current or former UT Students we immediately agreed that it made sense,” Wright said.

With no previous flying or building experience, Wright said he and his teammates are looking for fame and glory.

The “Flying Minaret” is mostly comprised of plastic tubing, chicken wire and paper mache.

Wright also mentioned there were several people that helped him out besides the actual crew including UT Students Kim Dawson and Andrea Ferzoco’s house, where they did most of the construction on the Flying Minaret.

To become a fan of your UT Spartans and their flight on Saturday, July 19 visit their Facebook group at Support The UT Spartans’ FLYING MINARET!

Gates open at 11 p.m. and the first flight is at 1 p.m. Check out Tampa Bay’s Red Bull Flugtag Site for more information on the event and other flying machines.


When ‘ Where: Red Bull Flugtag Tampa Bay will take flight at the City Park at Tampa Convention Center on July 19. Gates open at 11 a.m. (though the waters will be open for boats all day) with the first flight departing at 1 p.m. Final flight will take off about 3:30 and will be immediately followed by an Awards Ceremony and a jump by the Red Bull Air Force elite skydiving team!

Will it be broadcast anywhere? Yes! Red Bull Flugtag Tampa Bay will be broadcast on Catch 47 from 12:30 p.m.-3 p.m. Location City Park at Tampa Convention Center

Entry Fee? Is 100% FREE to the public and open to all ages

Yes, there will be road closures… -Bayshore Blvd. will be closed from Verne to Platt on July 19th 7am – 6pm -Eastbound lanes of Platt St. Bridge will be closed on July 19th 7am – 6pm -Southbound lane of Harbour Island Bridge will be closed on July 19th 10am – 6pm

What you can expect on site There will be food and beverage vendors stationed around the event site. Beer will be sold at Tampa Convention Center, Jackson’s will be serving a full bar as usual though no alcohol will be sold at the Bayshore viewing area. ATMs will be available in the Tampa Convention Center as our vendors will not accept credit cards–cash only.

The event is open seating so get there early to reserve a spot!

No smoking allowed.

What you CAN bring to Red Bull Flugtag Tampa Bay

NOTE: Guests and their belongings are subject to search upon entry or re-entry. You can help keep the lines moving quickly by leaving large bags at home. Please return for any additions or amendments. – Blankets – Umbrellas (small hand-held style) – Soft-sided coolers – Baby Strollers – Portable/collapsible chair – Regular-size/unframed backpacks – Sealed water bottles

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