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Recent Alums Engineer Flugtag Glider

August 17, 2016

About Me

Dan Hack is a recent graduate from the Civil & Environmental Department in the College of Engineering. During his years at Northeastern, Dan was an active member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, which included serving as the design captain on the concrete canoe team, and representing the group at nationwide conferences. Dan completed three co-op experiences in the field of municipal and construction engineering all in the Greater Boston Area. He has a core focus on Project Management and Sustainable Building, and now works as a Project Engineer at Turner Construction. Outside of work and school, Dan loves spending time in the mountains hiking, skiing and exploring.

Red Bull Flugtag: The Flying Franks

The Red Bull Flugtag is truly an event like none other. For those unfamiliar with the event allow me to explain. The Flugtag is a competition in which teams design, construct and showcase a variety of homemade gliders and flying machines in front of tens of thousands of crazed fans. The event is held in two cities around the country each year, with hundreds of applicants vying for a slot to compete. This year a crew of five recent Northeastern graduates from the Colleges of Engineering and Architecture will make up one of the 30 teams participating at the first ever Flugtag to be held in Boston. Each team has a unique theme and story, which largely factors in to the judging of the competition.

As this event is fairly exclusive, we knew we had to submit an outstanding design proposal and entry application. After many hours of deliberation, we decided that our theme would be hot dogs, and that our team name would be aptly named; The Flying Franks. We were overjoyed when our application was accepted and we were notified that we would be part of this extravaganza of amateur flight, but then came the daunting task of actually building a craft to launch.

There are a wide range of design constraints that the gliders must adhere to. The crafts must be lightweight (under 400 lbs.) and are to be completely human powered. The mechanical engineers on the team went through a variety of design iterations, analyzing size, weight, lift, drag and all sorts of other complex aerodynamic concepts. It was decided that our craft would have two parts. A chassis designed as a bun, and a glider with a hot dog fuselage that would launch from out of the bun at the end of the runway. The runway is approximated 100 feet long and sits 30 feet above the water. This year the event is being held on the Charles River, with staging and the event space located at the DCR Hatch Shell on the Esplanade.

In addition to the flight, there is a performance aspect included, comprised of a short skit, song, or dance. Since we are engineers and not dance majors, this is proving to be a difficult challenge as we have taken it upon ourselves to create costumes and choreograph our performance to coincide with our wiener themed craft. We hope to entertain the crowd and arouse hilarity for the judges in order to win over the People’s Choice award.

The team is very excited to show off the hard work that has gone into this project. We could not have made it happen without the support of Northeastern and more specifically the College of Engineering. The event is being held this coming Saturday, August 20th. With less than a week away we are polishing our routine and putting the final touches on the craft. The event is free so if you feel like coming out to support your fellow Huskies, the more the merrier! It should be a great day with lots of fun for all.