There is a £30,000 prize for anyone can fly more than 328ft (100m)
A man who travelled 282 ft (almost 86m) off a pier in a modified glider is in the lead after day one of this year's Birdman of Bognor competition.
The Condor Class event was won by the "Geordie Flyer", Ron Freeman, who achieved a personal best.
The international competition was held in Worthing after Bognor pier was shortened by 80ft (24m), making it unsafe for flyers.
About 2,000 people turned up to watch competitors plunge into the sea.
A £30,000 prize was on offer to anyone who could fly the furthest distance over 328ft (100m).
The Condor Class, which is considered the more serious of the two-day event, saw a number of competitors attempt to fly from the pier in a series of elaborate contraptions.
Inventor David Moore who travelled from the US, chose to attempt to fly in a less conventional machine, which he described as a "giant, human bat suit."
He only managed to travel 22ft (6.6m) before hitting the water.
Sunday's event is expected to attract thousands more spectators, when competitors will leap from the pier in fancy dress costumes that offer even less chance of becoming airborne.
The contest raises thousands of pounds for charity every year and has attracted interest from around the world, even inspiring a similar event in China.
The first contest was held in 1971 at the nearby resort of Selsey with a £1,000 prize fund, rising later to £3,000, for a flight of 150ft (46m).