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For the 2012 Red Bull Flugtag in Philadelphia, my team RamThis! was selected to be one of the 32 crafts to be exhibited during this nationally te… Read More
For the 2012 Red Bull Flugtag in Philadelphia, my team RamThis! was selected to be one of the 32 crafts to be exhibited during this nationally televised competition. Read Less
2012 Red Bull Flugtag Philadelphia- Team RamThis!

Red Bull Flugtag challenges teams of everyday people to build homemade, human-powered flying machines and pilot them off a 30-foot high deck in hopes of achieving flight! Teams are not only judged on flight but they are also judged on the creativity of the craft as well as a performance by each of the teams. 

The PhilaU RamThis! Team formed after MikeLeonard, Dean of The School of Design and Engineering at Philadelphia University mentioned the idea offlying in the Red Bull Flugtag, and got the support of the Kanbar College ofDesign, Engineering and Commerce leadership team. 

With their support I began to recruit a team. Together Christian Loos, Mike J.T. Leonard, Marty Perkins, Lucas Ciccarelli and I began to visualize and publicize the idea of building a flying ram for the flugtag. 
The initial concept design presented to Red Bull was a ram shaped plane with the horns as the wings.

Along with an initial concept sketch and flight crew information, we also had to submit a video that illustrated the fun and energy that we would bring to the competition. After all, we had to put on a good show for the 65,000 people in attendance!

The Design
During the design process we had a lot of criteria and restrictions that we needed to follow. First off, all flying machines had to be entirely human-powered (no external energy sources or stored power, so forget about the slingshots, catapults or anything besides personal burliness). Second, no matter what they say, size does matter! All crafts had to be less than 30 feet wide and weigh no more than 450lbs (including the pilot).

Our main idea was to maximize the wing span of the craft and reduce the main body weight of the craft. The result would create a glider of sorts and would produce the most lift. But we also wanted to make sure that we kept the idea of a flying ram in the mix so the craft wouldn't confuse the spectators. 
So as a middle ground of flight vs style we decided to reduce the wing span to 24' x 6' and the body to 12' x 4'.The iconic symbols on the craft would be the rams head and horns, and the legs would be in a running/ leaping stance so that it gave the imagery of taking off when pushed off the dock.

The Build Process
We started by building the base structure that would have to hold up all the weight of the craft and pilot. This is also where the wheels would eventually attach and where we would be pushing from. The idea was that the taller the base, the higher the fall; giving the craft more time to catch the air and glide us to victory!
Some of the parts of the craft came from salvaged sources ie: rusted out bikes. In order to remove the wheels and attach them to the bases axels, we had use a bit of heat to loosen up the rust.

Disclaimer: Don't try this at home.

With the body of the craft framed up, we needed to build the interior supports for the wings. To do this we fitted the wing pipes through the body and attached a coupler to each end. 
Our wing structure was designed in an air foil so that we could maximize as much lift as possible.
To add to the creativity and fun of the ram, we purchased faux wool fur that gave the look and feel of a ram! Also it added extra interaction with the audience by adding a tactile quality when the audience toured the hangar area.
Across our wing span, we designed a screen text that could be heat transferred onto our rip stop nylon fabric. To do this, I joined up with Wendy Anderson from the Textile Print Design program to do test prints on our fabric. 
The result of a heat transfer print impregnates the fabric with the ink, making a water tight bond.

Assembly Required

Flugtag "Flight Day"