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Band members to fly world'sMembers of Purdue’s “All-American” Marching Band are building a new version of the World's Largest Drum that will fly over, and into, Lake Michigan. The “Droppin the Bass” glider will be launched off a four-story lakefront platform in Chicago on Saturday, Sept. 8, when it competes in a Red Bull Flugtag.
The goal is to fly as far over the lake as possible, while also entertaining the crowd.
Team captain Chris Yamamoto, a senior in aeronautical engineering from Cortland, New York, says the big drum design was a natural theme because of how iconic it is throughout the Big Ten conference and beyond. “Purdue students have a long history of pushing the frontiers of flight,” Yamamoto said. “None is more well known than Purdue band alumnus Neil Armstrong. Of course, he flew farther than we will.”
Yamamoto also will pilot the craft. As a freshman he served as chief engineer for a smaller team that launched a “Speed Train” version of the Boilermaker Special into a second-place finish at the 2010 Flugtag in Miami, just three feet behind a top team of NASA engineers from nearby Cape Canaveral.
“I hope to use that experience and my now-increased aerospace engineering education to propel us to victory,” Yamamoto said. “Of course, my thrust is completely dependent on the muscles of bandmates. Unfortunately, all of the football players are busy that day pushing people around at Notre Dame.”
Successful Flugtag teams typically provide the crowd with a high-energy song and dance routine before launching their craft into the drink. Yamamoto says his team’s inherent musicality will help. “We entertained an entire nation at the head of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade,” Yamamoto said. “We can handle this crowd.”
Team “Droppin the Bass” includes Heather Robinson, Zach Haley, Alex McHolick and Ben Kuttecsh. The finished craft will be displayed outside the Neon Cactus, the team’s sponsor, at 360 Brown Street in West Lafayette, IN, at approximately 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 6.
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