Valley Team to Compete in National Red Bull Flugtag
Made in 'Murica team members and their plane.
UPDATE: Team "Made in Murica" won the People's Choice award at the National Red Bull Flugtag competition in D.C.
A group of friends in Harrisonburg took off for the National Red Bull Flugtag competition in D.C. this weekend.
Competing groups build a human-powered flying machine to launch from a 30-foot ramp into water. Team Made in ‘Murica's plane already won several challenges and stirred up a social media frenzy, but what's carried them to this point is friendship.
Cody Monger, Kory Hensley, Bradley Ewing, Joel Wolters and Curtis Lam met as young teenagers. A decade later, the buddies have embarked on a new journey.
"We all grew up together. We're all super creative," Lam said. "We've done extreme sports and stuff like that most of our lives and we've taken everything that we've wanted to do - fly - and we're putting it all in one."
This August they got to work on what they call their "rocket of freedom" and it's already grabbed the judges' attention. Team Made in ‘Murica made it to the top 30, out of more than 1,000 entries. The squad also won several challenges, like a photo contest.
The flugtag happens Saturday, with events in multiple cities. The valley team will participate in the Washington, D.C. event. Lam says the point is to build a flying machine that will cross the National Harbor - with a surprise.
"The joke with our plane is our plane is going to drop a big rocket and the eagle is going to fly away," Lam said. "It's super American."
All joking aside, Ewing has faith in their machine.
"It's actually modeled exactly after a Beechcraft Bonanza, which is rated really high for lift off the wings," he said.
A lot of time and research went into the machine, which began as Styrofoam, aluminum, bicycle wheels and some chicken wire. "A lot of early mornings and a lot of late nights," Ewing said.
The group will be judged on showmanship, creativity and distance traveled.
"We don't really know what to expect when we go there," Monger said. "But honestly I don't think they know what to expect either - because they're about to get a little piece of the valley, and I don't think they're ready for it."
The team departed Thursday evening for D.C. Click here to vote for the People's Choice award.
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