England's coastal resort of Selsey in Sussex was more crowded than usual on Sunday (15 August) for the town's major attraction of the year.
GV PAN FROM: crowd on beach to jumping platform (2 shots)
SV: R.A. Thornhill jumps off platform with plastic wings and goes straight into water.
SV:two girls jump off platform with plastic wings and go straight down into water
SV: M. Carton, with hang gliding wings, takes off but falls into water.
SV: B. Powis jumps off with plastic kite but goes straight into water
SV: R.M. McCusker (eventual winner) puts on wings and then makes short glide into water (2 shots)
SV: "Father Splashmas" takes off, loses wings and falls into water
SV: W.C. Dowson takes off with wings but lets go of them and falls into water
GV: T.Appleton pushes glider off platform and goes straight down into sea
SV: man jumps up and down on platform, flapping wings as crowd watch. (2 shots)
SV: "Flapper" takes off and goes down into sea.
SV: M.J. Smith with two wings takes off and into sea.
SV: man with no clothes on, jumps off platform into sea.
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Background: England's coastal resort of Selsey in Sussex was more crowded than usual on Sunday (15 August) for the town's major attraction of the year.
SYNOPSIS: The centre of attraction was a 25-foot high platform on Selsey pier. Here 36 entrants gathered to launch themselves over the sea. The prize of three thousand pounds (5,250 US dollars) was the bait for any person to fly 50 metres without engine, motor or rocket.
The contestants are labelled birdmen but several girls who took to the air were eager to become successful birdwomen. But success eluded them in the same as the others.
The intrepid would-be birds came to the water more quickly than they'd planned. The winner was this contestant from Southampton. And he managed only nine metres, a long way off the 50 metre target. Observers could only compare their efforts with such flightless birds as emus or kiwis rather than seagulls.
A special section for comic entries included Father Splashmas. But onlookers found it rather difficult to distinguish the comics from serious contenders. The Selsey flight has now become an annual event. It started five years ago as a fund-raising event organised by the Royal Air Forces Association. But so popular was the event that now it is held every year. So far no-one has managed to reach the 50 metre goal.
The rules allow wings not exceeding 30 feet wide and no help white launching. But one man decided to cast his fate to the winds alone. The winds were not kind.