Local teams gear up for first-ever Milwaukee Flugtag

NOW: Local teams gear up for first-ever Milwaukee Flugtag

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Anthony Balistreri saw the videos on YouTube, and when he heard Red Bull's Flugtag was coming to Milwaukee, he assembled a team of fellow recent UW-Madison grads.

"None of us knew how to build an airplane, but here we are," he said.

Balistreri says his team of five has mechanical engineering and computer science degrees.

"We're all pretty geeky, pretty nerdy, pretty smart," he said. They raised about $2,000 on GoFundMe and took three months to build "The Flying Schmeat," a combination of aluminum, Styrofoam, wood, and cling wrap painted to look like a bratwurst with wings.

"What represents Milwaukee more than the brat?" Balistreri said.

The German word "flugtag" roughly translates to "flying day," and 35 teams will be flying on Saturday, July 16 at Veterans Park.

A team of four pushers and one pilot take their craft across a 21-foot ramp, getting more than 100-feet to build up speed. At the end of the ramp, it is up to the pilot. Sooner or later, that pilot is getting wet. The world record flugtag glide is 258-feet, which Balistreri says is "easily" in reach for his flying brat.

Glide distance is just one aspect of the contest. Celebrity judges (headlined Saturday by Packers-great Donald Driver) also look at creativity in the glider build and grade the entertainment value of a 30-second skit performed on the flight deck.

"Skit, distance, goofing off, we need all of it to win," Balistreri said.

The top three winning teams will receive exclusive Red Bull experiences, meet-and-greets with Red Bull athletes, and more. The "People's Choice" award is open until Friday, July 15 at 6 p.m. EST - you can vote HERE

Opening ceremonies start at 1 p.m. Saturday at Veterans Park, with the first flight at 1:10 p.m. 

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