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Those Magnificent Men…

For eccentricity of the purest kind, it’s hard to beat the Bognor Birdman festival (September 9-10).

For eccentricity of the purest kind, it’s hard to beat the Bognor Birdman festival (September 9-10). Each year the resort of Bognor Regis on the Sussex coast hosts one of the craziest events in Britain, when hopeful aviators attempt to fly from the end of the pier in all manner of bizarre aeronautical contraptions and even more outrageous costumes. Jokers enter the Kingfisher class; more serious competitors go for the Leonardo da Vinci or Condor events. Significant prizes are awarded, and there’s a top prize of £25,000 for the longest flight above 100 metres. No one has flown that far yet, though some rather determined Germans came close to the mark in 1990. So far, the record distance stands at 89.2 metres, achieved by local birdman Dave Bradshaw in 1992. The 2006 event is expected to be larger and madder than ever.


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