It’s been eight years coming, but the Red Bull Flugtag will finally crash land back in the UAE this weekend.

Thousands of spectators will gather at Dubai Creek to watch the Flugtag Dubai as 49 teams put their hand-made flying machines to the test.

It’ll be a case of sink or swim as each of the plucky pilots are pushed off a nine-metre platform in their DIY flying machines in a bid to soar for as long as possible across the water below.

It’s too late to enter (would you really want to?), but there’ll be plenty to see, whether you’re an aviation fan, or just enjoy watching people nosedive into water.

The distance to beat is a massive 78.64 metres; the standard set by the Chicken Whisperers, who broke the world record in Long Beach, California, in 2013.

But distance isn’t everything. Competitors are also judged on creativity and showmanship, so get ready for some spectacular contraptions and fantastical outfits.

Flugtag facts

180: Maximum weight in kilos of competing aircraft – including the pilot

1992: Year of the very first Flugtag, which took place in Vienna, Austria

Seven: Height of the take-off platform in metres

Eight: Maximum aircraft wingspan in metres 

Pictures from past Dubai Flugtags

It’s been eight years since we had a flugtag in Dubai, here’s what the bizarre flying event looked like when it hit the city nearly a decade ago…

Flugtag_Dubai_UAE_25-Nov-05_Adam_Cukrowski_IMG_1492 Flugtag_Dubai_UAE_25-Nov-05_Adam_Cukrowski_IMG_1514-2 _DSC3638 Flugtag_Dubai_UAE_25-Nov-05_Adam_Cukrowski_IMG_1505 red-bull-flugtag-2007-5 red-bull-flugtag-2007 red-bull-flugtag-2007-1

How to spot a contender

Aviation specialist and Flugtag technical advisor Lorcan Lynch on what makes a winning team


Team spirit The ideal take-off is with a directionally stable, symmetric force. With four people pushing it’s easy for one side to accidentally push harder than the other – good teamwork and lots of launch practice are essential.

A big push An aircraft isn’t allowed any thrust other than what its team can generate when pushing it off the platform

Eye-catching design Distance alone does not a winner make. The judges will be looking for colour and creativity

Minimal fuss Teams want to use balloons and banners in their designs – but extras like this increase drag and resistance

The lighter the aircraft, the better This helps it to glide rather than plummet

A diminutive pilot Aircraft and pilot together must not exceed 180kg, but it’s always a case of the lighter the better. More important still is the right blend of courage and craziness…

November 27

Dubai Creek Park, Dubai, 1pm, free. Metro: Dubai Healthcare City. 

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