Contraption contest lures local team with glider that looks like KC’s famous Connie

09/11/2013 6:20 PM

09/11/2013 10:44 PM

Looking at some of the flying machines that people enter in this gliding contest, one might think the whole point was to shove off a 30-foot pier and sink immediately into the water below.

That is often the slapstick result at the Red Bull Flugtag glider competition. A team performs an elaborate skit in costume, gives the heave-ho to their contraption and kerplunk.

But a Kansas City team will be in it to win at the Chicago contest on Sept. 21 with dreams of beating the glide distance record, currently 207 feet.

You get a lot of these teams that just want to go out there and have fun and basically jump in the water, said John Roper, director of the Airline History Museum in Kansas City. Were going up there to represent Kansas City and to try to grab the trophy.

The team also wants to draw attention to the museums fundraising efforts to get its Lockheed Constellation, dubbed the Connie, back into the air.

The glider built this summer by Roper and others at the museum is designed to resemble the Connie and has a serious shot of success at the Flugtag, which is German for fly day.

The glider will be on view and Red Bull ace pilot Kirby Chambliss will perform aerobatics at a fundraiser Saturday at the Airline History Museum, which is in Hangar 9 at Wheeler Downtown Airport.

Antics aside, the serious goal of the Flugtag is to see how far a human-powered aircraft, built within certain specifications, can glide.