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Birdman flying contest grounded as organisers bail out

The contest had been an eccentric summer staple of the British calendar Credit: Reuters

For years, crowds have watched as a serious and silly competitors alike have pitched themselves against the forces of gravity and tried to fly.

But now organisers of the annual Birdman competition in Worthing have announced they are grounding the event indefinitely as rising costs have brought them back down to earth.

Both serious and silly competitors had taken part Credit: PA

Hundreds have gathered to watch each year as competitors launch themselves off the end of the town's pier in flying machines ranging from the professional to the ridiculous.

A £10,000 was on offer for the furthest flier who managed to make it more than 100 metres over the English channel before the inevitable soggy landing.

Organisers said they were quitting over rising costs Credit: PA

Organisers at the Worthing Town Centre Initiative (WTCI) said they are bailing out after eight years overseeing the popular summer event, citing rising costs and a lack of sponsorship.

The WTCI feel it's time to stop our investment while the event is on a high and turn our funds and resources to other town centre projects.

– WTCI chairman Chris Spratt

Mr Spratt added: "Of course, it may be that some other organisation may choose to take on the event."

Some competitors fail to make it very far before their soggy landing Credit: Reuters

Competitors had been able to compete in one of three categories:

  • Leonardo Da Vinci Class for self-built and innovative craft.
  • Condor Class for modified hang-gliders and similar craft.
  • Kingfisher class is open for fun flyers - who were marked not on distance but for entertainment value.