Daredevils and designers brought their madcap creations to Dubai Creek on Friday to take part in the Red Bull Flugtag flying competition.
It is the second time Dubai has staged the event, in which teams of designers are challenged to build a flying machine that is launched from a ramp across water.
It is nine years since the city last staged flugtag but, going by the thousands flocked to Creek Park to enjoy the display, the event has not lost any popularity in the interim.
Teams and their flying machines gained points for design creativity, performance on stage and distance travelled.
It was all the incentive required for the fun seekers who pushed their flying machines along a 10-metre-high ramp and out over the creek – for however far it would take them.
Jordanian Nijoud Al Qadi, 27, took to the ramp with state-of-the art flying experiment designed and built by Abu Dhabi-based international design firm Gensler.
“We wanted to explore a new area of design by using 3D models and studying aerodynamics,” the thrill-seeker said.
“It was a fun thing to do and good team building – the whole office got on board with the competition,” she said.
“Some designed costumes, others came up with ideas on how it would look.
“We chose the James Bond theme as the new film was coming out. I was the lightest, so was nominated to be the pilot. I guess I was Jane Bond.”
The craft was made out of polyisocyanurate (PIR) panels as they are strong, yet light. It weighed 90kg but was large enough to fit four people, with Ms Al Qadi on the roof.
Terry Winarta, 26, who lives near Emirates Towers in Dubai, was part of the Egg and Spoon team from Atkins engineering.
“We spent extra time after work and at weekends coming up with ideas,” she said. “The egg and spoon race reminded us of our childhood school sports day, so we chose that.
“I’m scared of heights so I was the last one to jump off but I did not want to be the chicken in the office.”
Other entrants included a Spanish team with a bull fighting-inspired design and a team from South Africa whose creation – a rhino made from Red Bull cans – was inspired by a desire to highlight poaching and conservation issues.
“It is a cause close to all of our hearts,” said South African James Newdigate, 28, who works with law firm Al Tamimi and Company.
“Our design was made predominantly from plywood, so we were surprised that it actually floated.
“A flying rhino was ambitious but at least it didn’t sink.”
Thirty teams took part, with names including Cool Runnings, Skyfall, 2020, Nut a Good Idea, Wacky Creek Flyers, The Millennial Falcon from SkyDive Dubai, The Hoop and The Sacrifice.
The event’s five-man judging panel included Red Bull athlete and motocross rider Mohammed Al Balooshi.
The teams, with eye-catching designs inspired by cartoon characters such as The Minions, struggled to threaten any records.
Those with designs based on a hang-glider proved the most effective.
The Premier Falcons team came agonisingly close to breaking the world record distance of 78.6 metres – recorded by the Chicken Whisperers in 2013 at Long Beach California.
However, their impressive design and effort dipped into the creek at a mere 71 metres.