The International Bognor Birdman event is truly Britain at its best. Every year hundreds of plucky individuals jump from 35 feet above the sea and try to “fly” for as far as they can.
The event held in Bognor Regis and Worthing started in 1971. The oldest birdman rally in the world has brought in loads of charity cash for a whole host of good causes, all through people jumping off a pier.
There are different competitions within the event. Some serious and some not so serious.
Kingfisher competitors are judged on costume, performance and crowd reaction. You will find people dressed as pantomime horses, spaceships and even Frenchmen riding a bike. Every last one of them falling off the top of the pier and directly sinking down into the ocean.
The Condor class however is a different kettle of flying fish. This class is for people that have spent hours if not years building a flying machine that will bring them the Birdman Trophy for the longest distance travelled. If you have the aviation knowledge and skill set to create a successful flying machine, then said skills must surely be utilised for jumping off a pier into the sea and smashing that flying machine to bits in the process.
The current record of 99.86 metres (327.6 ft.) was set in Worthing by Steve Elkins in 2009. Well-done Steve. You are Britain’s answer to Superman. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a bloke jumping off Bognor pier dressed as a pelican!
Writes Tom Greaney
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