Red Bull Flugtag 2017: Robert Morris University Red Bull Flugtag 2017 | Robert Morris University

Red Bull Flugtag

RMU engineering students to compete in 2017 competition on August 5 at the Three Rivers Regatta

On August 5 in downtown Pittsburgh a team of Robert Morris engineering students will compete in Red Bull Flugtag, which challenges the brave and brainy to design, build, and pilot homemade flying machines off a 22-foot high flight deck in hopes of soaring into the wild blue yonder… or more often, plunging into the waters of the Ohio River.

Flugtag, which means “flying day” in German, pushes the envelope of human-powered flight, but competitors need more than airtime to reach the podium. Teams are judged on three criteria: flight distance, creativity of the craft, and showmanship. This criteria has inspired flying tacos, prehistoric pterodactyls, winnebagos with wings and even Snoopy and the gang to grace the Flugtag flight decks! Since the first Red Bull Flugtag took place in Vienna, Austria, in 1992, more than 100 Red Bull Flugtags have been held around the globe, attracting up to 300,000 spectators for a single event.

Each year hundreds of team from across the country compete for one of only 40 spots in the competition. Come cheer on your Colonials on August 5, as the event takes place during the EQT Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta.

Video - Buying the Materials

Student Profiles

Flugtag-Luke-Schubert Luke Schubert
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Year of Graduation: 2019

When Luke heard about RMU competing in Flugtag he was immediately interested and thought it would be a great opportunity to apply what he's learned in his engineering classes. He's thrilled about the overall goal: to fly a craft his team builds from scratch. Despite his fear of heights, Luke is still looking forward to pushing his teammate off the platform and jumping in after him.

Luke's favorite this about the School of Engineering, Mathematics and Science is the professors willingness to help all the students succeed no matter the circumstances. "They also offer so many opportunities to participate in events to use their skills that they learn in class, including the Red Bull Flugtag. It's not the typical "college experience" that everyone talks about. It's so much more."

Flugtag-Madison-Parks Madison Parks
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
Major: Engineering with a Concentration in Mechanical Engineering
Year of Graduation: 2019

Madison loves bringing ideas to life, so when she heard about the Flugtag project being an opportunity to design an aircraft, build it, and fly it off a 22-foot-high platform, there was no question to whether or not she should join the team. With a build this complex, she realizes that the design and manufacturing will change many times during the construction stage, so she's really excited to see how the final product will turnout and perform.

Madison really values her classmates and the fact that she can get to know each of them, as well as her professors. "I like the small class sizes because all the students receive individualized attention. We also get to know one another and are always surrounded by familiar faces while we learn," she says.

Flugtag-Drew-Garbenis Drew Garbenis
Hometown: Cincinnati, OH
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Year of Graduation: 2018

Drew's career aspirations are to work in aeronautics, so when he heard about RMU participating in Flugtag, he knew it was right up his alley. Designing the craft has been very exciting for Drew, but he says he's most looking forward to the drawings coming to life as they built their machine.

Drew particularly enjoys all of his engineering professors at RMU. "It’s not like some of the bigger schools where you have a student teacher. All of the teachers I have had are very knowledgeable which makes learning so much easier."

Flugtag-Nick-Mummau Nick Mummau
Hometown: Lancaster, PA
Major: Mechanical Engineering major, Alternative Energy and Sustainability minor
Year of Graduation: 2019

Nick is excited to work with a team of like-minded students and get the opportunity to design, test, and build something from scratch, similar to how an engineering team might in the workforce. Getting to represent his university on such a large stage is what he's really looking forward to. "We have a University that offers a lot for students, yet not enough people know our name," Nick says.

The most important aspects when Nick learns a difficult subject is the hands-on portion of learning, along with personal attention from professors. Robert Morris offers small class sizes where professors get to know you personally. "When your instructors know your name and get to know you, that relationship can bring a lot of personal success and opportunities that you would not get in many larger programs."

Flugtag-Roger-Pogoda Roger Pogoda
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Year of Graduation: 2018

Roger Pagoda didn't want to lose his edge while not in class over the summer, so he joined the Flugtag team to experience real-world engineering practice. He also really enjoyed Professor Tony Kerzmann's thermodynamics course and wanted to take advantage of the chance to work with him on a big project like this. Roger is really looking forward to representing RMU on such a grand scale. He's very proud to call himself a member of the School of Engineering, Mathematics and Science and wants to show a large audience what he and his peers are capable of.

"My main reason for choosing to attend RMU is because here I knew I would be more than just a number; I’d be a member of a community," says Roger. "I’ve had classes with a handful of professors in SEMS and all of them have made me feel like more than just a student passing through for a few years. They’ve made me feel like an important member of the school and like my opinion and ideas are valued. Hopefully we can do our program proud through this competition."

Faculty Profile

Flugtag-Tony-KerzmannProfessor Tony Kerzmann is an associate professor at Robert Morris University, where his research areas include hybrid concentrating photovoltaic systems, life cycle assessment, sustainable product development, engineering entrepreneurship, alternative energy systems, renewable energy education and active learning. He holds a B.A. in Physics from Duquesne University, and a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Pittsburgh.

Professor Kerzmann enjoys assisting students in using their engineering skills to create, and finds that students often work harder and learn more when competition is involved. So when this Red Bull Flugtag competition arose, he realized it was a great platform for students to be creative and use their engineering knowledge to the best of their abilities. He's really looking forward to how the students plan and implement the final construction of the glider. "Although I hope the glider flies farther than any of the competition, from an engineering perspective, the most important aspect of this project is how well the glider is designed and fabricated," he says.

Three Rivers Regatta
North Shore Great Lawn
Saturday, August 5