Mad Mallard Militia flies off to win Flugtag


Utah’s very own Flugtag team, Mad Mallard Militia, will be traveling to Long Beach, Calif., to compete in the National Red Bull Flugtag on Sept. 21. This competition is held at five locations in the United States and hosts only 30 teams out of the 800 applicants who apply.

The Flugtag competition is judged based on a team’s showmanship and costumes, creativity of its glider design and the overall distance of the craft when launched off a 30-foot pier into the water. Mad Mallard Militia is comprised of the pilot, John Ternieden, and four crewmen who will push the glider off the pier: Austin Curtin, Chiloba Chirwa, Josh Malmgren and Spencer Bowen.

“Our concept is simple,” Ternieden said. “In ages past great warriors rode dragons. Forget dragons. We will ride our way to victory on a giant flying duck.”

The team is very confident in its design, named Big Beak, a massive duck clad in camouflage. The designs and ideas for the 24-foot-wide, 18-foot-long, and 10-foot-high craft were brought to reality with the help of the BYU engineer graduates Josh Mayer and Josh Malmgen, as well as with BYU industrial design major Chiloba Chirwa.

“This has been a great opportunity for me because stuff like this is great for my portfolio and my major,” Chirwa said. “I get to work with different types of materials like carbon fiber, which is super light and solid, and make Big Beak go farther.”

To the Mad Mallard Militia, the Flugtag competition has been more than a hobby. It is a way to put the group’s name out there and change the way Utahns have been viewed in the past.

“People have this false notion that Utahns, like ducks, are just here to play nice, sit back and not disturb anyone,” said Ternieden, a BYU public relations major from Toronto. “We’re here to break that stereotype. We’ll fight hard to show everyone what we’ve got as we migrate to Red Bull Flugtag in Long Beach.”

Red Bull helps its competitors raise the money for their craft and equipment by hosting a mixer. Mad Mallard Militia held its mixer at The Village on Friday night. This got the word out to many local students about Flugtag, and Mad Mallard Militia gained many supporters from the event.

“I think that Flugtag is one of the coolest things that Red Bull does,” said Keighley Richardson, an athletic trainer at BYU. “It’s awesome that BYU students are getting involved.”

CBS, Fox and ABC will interview Mad Mallard Militia throughout the week leading up to the Flugtag event.

To enable people to watch the team compete, the event will be streaming live on the Red Bull website on Sept. 21. Mad Mallard Militia can also be followed on Facebook and Twitter.

“BYU and Flugtag is the greatest combination since Barnes and Noble,” said Grant Meyers, a psychology major at BYU.

The Mad Mallard Militia teammates are confident they will win the grand prize to sky dive and, more importantly, the bragging rights of being Flugtag Champions.

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