|International Birdman Series|
|Dates||13–14 July 2013 (Bognor Regis)
10–11 August 2013 (Worthing)
|Location(s)||Bognor Regis, West Sussex
and Worthing, West Sussex
|Years active||1971 - Present
(1971-1977 – Selsey)
(1978-2007; 2010-present – Bognor Regis)
(2008-present – Worthing)
The International Birdman is a series of two competitions held in Bognor Regis and Worthing, in West Sussex, England. The competition which involves human 'birdmen' attempting to fly off the end of a pier into the sea for prize money. The event began in 1971 and has always been held on piers in West Sussex, on the south coast of England. First held in Selsey, the event moved to Bognor Regis in 1978. In 2008 and 2009 the competition relocated to Worthing Pier due to renovations of Bognor Regis Pier. From 2010 Bognor Regis and Worthing have both held Birdman competition, forming the International Birdman Series.   It is the oldest Birdman Rally in the world.
The competition involves running off an elevated ramp of 20 to 35 feet high at the end of a pier and attempting to 'fly' the furthest distance. There was an initial prize of £1,000 for anyone who could travel beyond 50 yards (46 m). Since starting, the prize money and qualifying distance has increased and in 2009 at Worthing it stood at £30,000 for reaching 100 metres (330 ft). The competition is divided between serious aviators mainly flying hang-gliders Condor Class, inventors with home designed and built machines, Leonardo da Vinci Class, and people in fancy dress with little or no actual flying ability, Kingfisher Class, raising money for charity.
The event started in 1971 as the International Bird-Man Rally in Selsey on the coast of Sussex. The event was initiated by George Abel, as part of a fund-raising activity for the Selsey branch of the Royal Air Forces Association (RAFA) Club. Abel, a former RAF photographer, emigrated to Australia shortly afterwards, where he also helped to organise Birdman events.
In 1978 organisers were informed they could no longer use the pier at Selsey and the event was moved to Bognor Regis. By 1983 the competition had attracted European teams and the attention of the BBC. In 2008, because of the demolition of an 18 metre (60 ft) length of the end of Bognor pier, the 2008 Birdman event was not staged in Bognor, due to safety concerns over water depth at high tide being 13 feet (4.0 m) at the new end of the pier. The 2008 and 2009 competitions were held in Worthing as a result of the safety concerns. After safety checks in 2009 the water depth was cleared by the Health and Safety Executive as safe for competition. Events have subsequently been staged in both Worthing and Bognor Regis, creating the International Birdman Series.
In 1984 Harold Zimmer (Germany) flew 57.8 metres to claim the top prize, which then stood at £10,000. By 1990 the record was 71 metres, the prize distance had been increased to 100 metres and the prize money was £25,000. The prize money now stands at £30,000 for successfully reaching 100m.
All International Birdman events are included. (As of 24 April 2013)
|Farthest jump (Worthing 2009)||Steve Elkins||99.86 metres (327.6 ft)|
|Farthest jump (Bognor Regis 1992)||Dave Bradshaw||89.2 metres (293 ft)|
2009 distance measurement
In 2009, Steve Elkins flew a distance of 99.8m, just short of the 100m distance required to win the £30,000 prize. Organisers stated that he had fallen just short of the 100m marker, but Elkins claimed that video footage showed that he had exceeded the distance. The BBC ran a news report after the event titled "Birdman Cheated of 30k win."
- "Official International Worthing Birdman Website". Retrieved 23 April 2013.
- "Official International Bognor Birdman Website". Retrieved 23 April 2013.
- "Jetstar Birdman Rally". City of Melbourne News and Media Centre. 9 November 2006.
- "History of Birdman". Official Worthing Birdman website. Retrieved 23 April 2013.
- "Birdman 'cheated' of £30,000 win". BBC News. 25 August 2009. Retrieved 26 March 2010.
- "elkinsextendedslowmo". YouTube. 2009-08-26. Retrieved 2013-02-11.
- "Worthing Birdman daredevil's £30k row over 14cm (From The Argus)". Theargus.co.uk. 2009-08-25. Retrieved 2013-02-11.