Alumni, Students Team Up to Create “Flying Minaret”

Published: Jul 8, 2008
On July 19, five University of Tampa students and alumni dressed as Spartans will launch one of Plant Hall’s famous minarets into the air. Or more likely, into the Hillsborough River.

The students and alumni have teamed up to create what they call the “Flying Minaret” to compete in the Red Bull Flugtag Tampa Bay event at City Park at the Tampa Convention Center.

The Red Bull energy drink company has hosted Flugtag events in cities around the world since 1991. Flugtag is German for “flying day.”

Teams at the events create a variety of human-powered “flying machines” that are launched from an elevated flight deck over a body of water. A panel of judges evaluates teams based on distance traveled, creativity and showmanship.

The UT team, which has dubbed itself the UT Spartans, is among more than 35 other groups creating flying contraptions of various sizes.

“We are all UT students and alumni,” said Kyle Wright, the team captain. “So it made sense to name ourselves the UT Spartans and try to get the whole school involved in the event.”

A UT senior, Wright helped secure funding for the project through UT’s Student Government.

Among the team’s five-person “flight crew” are Wright; UT juniors Noelle Etienne and Josh Neveu; and alumni Cory Stahl ’08 and Ryan Shaffer ‘08. The team has been meeting recently at the homes of some of their fellow UT alumni and students to construct the “Flying Minaret.”

The minaret itself is constructed primarily from plastic tubing, chicken wire, paper mache and other items. A blueprint has the finished minaret measuring approximately 16 feet long and 10 feet wide.

A page has been set up on the Facebook social networking Web site in order to drum up publicity for the UT team. The page currently boasts more than 200 supporters from UT and elsewhere.

For more information about event, visit the Red Bull Flugtag Tampa Bay Web site.