Birdmen of Bognor make a splash

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The Independent Online

Contestants were aiming to glide or flap into the record books, with £25,000 offered to anyone who travelled 100 metres or more in a human-powered flight. No one made it, but some took to the air more successfully than Kenneth Peek. Ron Freeman of Northumberland, who is a former hang-gliding world champion, flew nearly 80m, taking the Birdman title for a record seventh time.

Second was Dr Bill Brooks, an aircraft designer and test pilot from Wiltshire, who made 54.2m with his "pedal-assisted" glider. Third was Andrew Bill, an aerospace engineer from Gloucester. The competition attracted entrants from France, Canada, the US and Australia. Other events include the Leonardo da Vinci class for craft design and the Kingfisher best fancy dress entry.

Last year, the six-year reign of Mr Freeman was broken by a newcomer, Tony Hughes from Wiltshire, who flew 82.5m. In 1992, a Bognor student, David Bradshaw, made history by soaring 89.2m.

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