Flugtag on the Ottawa River

Did you know that Saturday is Flugtag Day? What’s a Flugtag, you may ask? Flugtag, literally means “flying day” in German. It's a huge competition that challenges amateur “pilots” to design, build, and fly homemade airplanes after they get pushed off a 22-foot high ramp by their team members in hopes of soaring into the clouds…or more often, plunging into the waters below.

This craziness started in Vienna, Austria, in 1992. Flugtag is an all-day event that has been hosted twice before in Canada (once in Ottawa) and can attract up to 200,000 spectators. This year, Red Bull is hosting the third annual Canadian Flugtag Challenge in Ottawa. Teams from all over the country will take off from a “flight deck” built at the Canadian Museum of Civilization with nothing but the Ottawa River between them and the possibility of soaring in the air across the river to the shores of the Parliament Buildings.

All the teams are judged on flight distance, creativity of the “air”craft, and showmanship. In the past, some of the crafts have looked like flying tacos, prehistoric pterodactyls, winnebagos with wings and even giant Poutine bowls. Take a look at the 2010 world record flight at Red Bull Flugtag Minneapolis St Paul. It's pretty cool.

I’ve never been to Flugtag but it seems like such an awesomely fun way to spend the day that I’ll be there this Saturday to watch. The Flight Deck will be located directly in front of The Canadian Museum of Civilization on the banks of The Ottawa River on the Quebec side.  You can get there very easily from downtown Ottawa by foot, bicycle, public transport, and car but the Alexandra Bridge will be closed to pedestrian access from 9:30am - 3:00pm so it’s better to use the Portage Bridge as an alternate route. It's free for all so just show up and have a great day!