The batty birdmen of Bognor are set to take to the skies once more this summer. The countdown is on until the International Bognor Birdman competition for man-powered flying machines gets under way off the town’s pier on Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th August.
The madcap proceedings come about each summer and sees many fliers take part to raise money for charities, others design complex flying machines to compete for cash prizes, trophies and mementos.
The zany event moved to Bognor Regis from Selsey in 1978 and since then, with a few exceptions (and a seven-year gap in which Worthing enjoyed great success with the event between 2008 and 2015) crowds have gathered every year in good numbers along the coast to watch the brave and downright barmy take to the skies.
There are three categories in which birdmen and women can apply:
Leonardo da Vinci – Get Inventing: This class is for self-designed and built flying machines. There are trophies, mementos and prizes of 1st – £1,000, 2nd – £500 and 3rd £250. The places in the Leonardo da Vinci Class are decided by the furthest distances flown in either of the two days of the competition.
Condor – Improve Your Wing: This class is for standard or modified hang-gliders piloted by experienced pilots who compete for trophies, mementos and cash prizes of 1st – £1,000, 2nd – £500 and 3rd – £250 for the furthest flights over the original Jackpot Course.
Kingfisher – Fly for Charity: This class is for topical or comic entries, usually fancy dress. This class offers excellent opportunities for sponsored fund-raising. The organisers say they are keen to select competitors who have the potential to be colourful and entertaining. Prizes of 1st – £500, 2nd – £250 and 3rd – £100.
Happy flying you bunch of bird-brains!