About the birdman comp...

The Birdman competiton has been run for many years most often at Bognor.  At the Worthing competition in 2009 Steve Elkins, flying an modified Avian Evo 2 prototype was the first pilot to beat the jackpot 100m mark.   He still holds the record.

The Birdman organisers refused to pay the prize money and after an almost four year battle Steve finaly managed to take the organisers to court.  Sadly, however the judge ruled in favour of the defendants, Worthing Town Centre Initiative (WCTI), despite the submission of substantial evidence including video footage and expert witness statements. 
Steve is now waiting to learn whether he will have to pay the legal expenses of the WCTI and is in discussion with his legal team on whether he should appeal the judgment.

After the record breaking flight, Sharon Clarke organiser of the Worthing Birdman competition appeared on BBC TV claiming the flight was
14cm short of 100m.  With use of a video she shows where the flight was scored to.  This clip shows where the pilot stopped moving and where it was incorrectly scored to.  She incorrectly used "head and shoulders" rather than "head" as the measuring datum on the pilot and measured to where the pilot first touched the water rather than when the pilot stopped moving forwards.  After her TV appearance  it was pointed out that if she read the rules she would see she had not scored to the correct point (but in fact she shortened the flight by several meters.)   She replied, "The rules need to be re-interpreted."  The original rules were removed from Worting Birdman web site site shortly after and replaced by some modified rules.  (Not the sort of behaviour one would expect from an honest competiton organiser.)

(A full set of rules as they appeared in the competitors pack before the competiton can be down loaded here:

On page 11 the original rules state:

1.13    The Aviator will be deemed to “cease to fly” when they stop moving forward and have any significant part of their legs or body immersed in the water, or when additional force is gained from any swimming stroke, push or jump from any obstacle.

1.14   Touching the water does not count against a competitor during a flight and is discounted in all measurements. Video footage will be available to the Judges in the event of any dispute.

2.1       To achieve the £30,000 Jackpot Prize of flying the furthest beyond the 100 metre mark, the Aviator’s head must reach or cross over the measured 100 metre mark inside the prescribed course.

A slow motion video of the record breaking flight is available

It is interesting to see how strong the current is (even in slow motion) once the glider is in the water.  The 100m bouy was washed a lot further than 100m from the pier by the current.

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