“Dirty Pterodactyls” Ready To Take Flight

Posted at: 09/19/2013 11:04 PM
By: John Doetkott

(ABC 6 News) -- On Thursday night, in a barn on the outskirts of St. Ansgar, three young men put the finishing touches on a contraption they hope will allow them to “soar into greatness.”

They, along with two others, form the “Dirty Pterodactyls.”

Over the past few weeks, the team created a unique glider as part of Red Bull's Flugtag competition which pits 30 select teams against each other to see who can build the best human-powered flying machine.

"We're not looking at any modern engineering marvels on here,” said Bryce Nickerson, the team’s pilot. “We're looking more towards the 17th and 18th Century flyers who were gliding without engines."

The teams jump from a 30-foot platform with nothing but their machines beneath them and see how far they can glide.

And while it might sound frightening to most people, the team sees it as an opportunity too good to pass up.

“I sent them an e-mail and said, ‘Hey, you four guys are picked for a reason and you don't really have a choice so we're doing this,’” Nickerson said.

“I really didn't think we were going to get picked so I just kind of forgot about it,” said teammate Jacob Trettin. “Then he messaged us and said we were in so it's kind of like, wow, ok, let's get this going then."

And despite dedicating hours upon hours to researching and developing the design, the team says they’re still not entirely sure how it will fly.

“No test runs with this machine, we're a one-and-done situation,” Nickerson said. “We kind of came to the conclusion that if we broke it once we weren't probably going to get it back together again."

But test run or not, the guys say they're ready, and this weekend in Chicago, the Dirty Pterodactyls hope to make their first flight an historic one.

“Success is clearing the platform and making it into the water,” Nickerson said.

“I’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” Trettin said. “Very excited."

“I think it'll just be a good time,” said fellow teammate Adam Mayer. “I kind of like heights and enjoy doing stuff like this, so I think it will be a good time all around."

The Dirty Pterodactyls are the only team from Iowa and are in the running for the competition’s “People’s Choice” award.

To vote for the team and to follow Saturday’s action, click the following link: http://redbullflugtagusa.com/page/cities/city/3/chicago