Three men paused in the darkening driveway to look at their creation in progress: a sawed-off wooden double lounge chair with bike wheels attached to one side. “I don’t know if my wife knows it’s gone yet,” Don McKee admits about his old lawn furniture.
After years of pent up frustration from coaching, but not being able to participate in their kids’ science projects, four Pittsburgh dads finally found the perfect opportunity to build something of their own: the Red Bull Flugtag. The Flugtag, which means “flying day” in German, is a competition to build a device that will fly the farthest off a 22-foot platform into the body of water below, in this case the Ohio River.
“We’re all builders and tinkerers and have been riding a desk for a long time and wanted to get our fingernails dirty,” Rob Riker from Sewickley said. Riker, a former aerobatic pilot, McKee, owner of Sweetwater Bike Shop, Tim Delaney, with a mechanical engineering background, and Andy Peacock, a construction and digital specialist, teamed up and began their planning in mid-May. Their pilot, Emily Moschitta, is described by her team simply as “an adventurer.” With the back-to-back Stanley Cup champions as their inspiration, the “Peng-Wings” designed their flying device complete with a Stanley Cup thruster on board.
With a running start– and in matching penguin costumes– the “Peng-Wings” will attempt to make their mark in Flugtag history at the EQT Pittsburgh Three Rivers Regatta. Even if their glider falls short, they will still surely make a splash.