Page last updated at 13:51 GMT, Sunday, 11 October 2009 14:51 UK

Birdman's losing flight confirmed

Steve Elkins making his 99.86cm flight
Steve Elkins thought he did enough to win the top Worthing Birdman prize

An "extensive review" of a flight in Worthing's birdman contest has ruled an aviator did fall just 14cm (five-and-a-half inches) short of winning £30,000.

The prize is offered for the furthest flight in the contest, providing a birdman goes further than 100m (328ft).

Derbyshire man Steve Elkins flew for 13.68 seconds in August, registering an official distance of 99.86m.

A statement from the organisers said they realised he would be disappointed but hoped Mr Elkins would try again.

The statement said: "The decision that was made on the day, of a flight of 99.86m on the jackpot line, will be the final distance accredited - confirming that the challenge distance of 100m was not achieved."

It added: "We understand that Steve Elkins will be disappointed but hope that he will come back in 2010 to try again."

Video evidence

Organisers said distances were calculated by an established measurement team, using an accepted process based on three fixed points not affected by wind or water currents.

Steven Elkins
Organisers said they hoped Mr Elkins would take part again in 2010

All aviators were measured in the same way, and the method was published and agreed to by aviators when they signed up, they added.

Earlier this year, Mr Elkins said he felt cheated and believed he had won the challenge to fly the 100m distance without mechanical aid.

Winged contestants in bizarre costumes and makeshift contraptions had spent two days trying to fly off Worthing pier in West Sussex.

Mr Elkins said video evidence suggested he had flown the distance.

Organisers said video stills showed he did not have his head and shoulders in line with the marker buoy, which is required to win.

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