For nearly four glorious minutes this month, Hamilton meant “awesome flying machine” in German. And we’ve got national airtime to prove it.
That’s because on August 12, we made our inaugural aeronautical debut at Redbull FlugTag. The annual flying competition—named after the German word for “flying day”—was created to “dare both the brave and the brainy to design, build and pilot homemade flying machines off a 27-foot ramp in hopes of achieving human-powered flight.” This year’s FlugTag was a raucous spectacle, attracting nearly 30,000 spectators to watch 39 competing teams fly, soar, splash and crash into Cincinnati’s Ohio River—all of it broadcast on ESPN2.
Taking a literal leap of faith for a shot at the title was a no-brainer for our fearless “Cast Me If You Can” Hamilton team. The Cincy competition was judged on three criteria: 1) Creativity of aircraft design, 2) Showmanship of the crew during a 30-second performance, and 3) Total distance of their human-powered flight. Naturally, Hamilton’s glider entry was a giant flying caster modeled after our best-selling Workhorse series.Named “Hangin' Tough” to align with our tagline as “The toughest casters on the planet”, the curious craft boasted a wingspan of 22 feet emblazoned with local graffiti art and featured a five-foot-tall caster (complete with pilot in situ).
"Besides being a great PR event for Hamilton, it was also a great team-building exercise,” explained Team Captain Justin Sprouse. “We had people from different company departments all working together to make it happen: purchasing, engineering, welding. We probably put in about 50 man hours in about 2 months to complete the aircraft—and we were working nights and weekends towards the end.”
The road to glory was not without suspense. Sprouse scrambled to submit Hamilton’s FlugTag application only one day before the deadline. “In just 24 hours, I got a sketch design from [Senior Design Engineer] John Yater and got a team approved to agree to do it if we got selected,” he recalled. “We didn’t think we were going to be accepted, but we were.”
And just how did we do? Hamilton placed 19th in the competition overall. Not too shabby for our first time.
in full 90s regalia. “We practiced that dance routine probably 50 times and never got it right,” said Sprouse. “But we got it right the day we were on that national stage.”
Best of all, Hamilton was invited back to next year’s competition in Tampa.
A huge congrats (or shall we say Glückwunsch) to our “Cast Me If You Can” team: You’re all winners in our book.
- Team Captain: Justin Sprouse- Inside Sales
- Pilot: Caleb Jones- Inside Sales
- Crew #1: Ryan Shelton- Traffic Manager
- Crew #2: Josh Lopez- System Admin Assistant
- Crew #3: Thomas Raley- Director of IT