A record crowd of 110,000 gathered down by the bay to witness 35 teams launch their human-powered flying machines at Red Bull Flugtag Tampa Bay. It was the first craft of the day, local team Tampa Baywatch, that took home top prize with their hotter-than-“The Hoff” skit and a flight distance of 109 feet. “We knew we were going to fly, but we weren’t sure how far. We were all freaking out a little bit being the first team off with over 100,000 people watching you. It’s just amazing – once in a lifetime,” said Tampa Baywatch pilot, Keith Humphrey, who was joined on the flight deck by his twin, Kevin Humphrey, and teammates Chris Elmore, David West and Kevin Riley.
Team Air Gilligan started from this tropic port aboard this tiny ship to secure second place with their flight distance of 32 feet – leaving Mary Ann and Ginger high but not so dry. Rounding out the top three was Panama City firefighters’ team The Little Engine That Could who flew 21 feet. “We’re firefighters, not pilots, so we did the best we could with what we had. Somehow the Little Engine That Could didn’t, but there’s always next year!” exclaimed team pilot Matthew Lopez.
The day’s flying fans also showed some local love to the Tampa Bay Derby Darlins, winners of the People’s Choice Award who captured a third of the Red Bull Flugtag record 30,000 SMS votes.