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The Millennial Falcon will soon take flight in Louisville!

Joe Marthaler, an assistant professor and chief flight instructor in Eastern Kentucky University’s Aviation Program, and his student team are designing the aircraft for its Aug. 27 launch at Red Bull Flugtag 2016. Other team crew members are:

·         Darth Vader, pusher, aka Michael Walach, EKU assistant professor and student of aviation.

·         Han Solo, pusher, aka Eric Logan, senior professional flight major.

·         Princess Leia, pilot, aka Rebecca Schmid, sophomore aviation management major.

·         Luke Skywalker, pusher, aka Sam Cleary, junior professional flight major.

·         Storm Trooper, pusher, aka Andrew Clark, sophomore professional flight major.

Flugtag, or “flying day” in German, was started by Red Bull in Austria in 1991. Since then, more than 100 events have been held around the globe, attracting up to 300,000 spectators for a single event. Teams design, build and pilot home-made flying machines from a 30-foot-high flight deck and are judged on three criteria: flight distance, creativity of the craft, and showmanship.

Forty teams – with names like Fear and Loathing, Frogeyes, and Whosyerwings – will attempt to break the 258-foot distance record set in 2013. And EKU Aviation is proud to be one of them.

"I attended a previous Red Bull event in Chicago and thought this would be a fantastic way to promote aviation in Kentucky,” Marthaler said. “As the chief flight instructor, I also wanted to recruit future pilots and make them aware that we are here at EKU, we have a fantastic flight program, and they need not go anywhere else for their flight training needs.

“The team wanted to build a replica of the Millennium Falcon of ‘Star Wars’ fame. The suggestion was that we would name the team Millennial Falcon because of the age of our students.

"I always ask people, ‘How do you spell aviation?’ It is spelled F-U-N!"

Now, the Millennial Falcon needs others’ support! Vote for the EKU team at

To learn more about EKU Aviation, visit