Page last updated at 20:35 GMT, Tuesday, 25 August 2009 21:35 UK

Birdman 'cheated' of 30,000 win

Steven Elkins
Steve Elkins believed he had won the Worthing Birdman contest in his glider

An aviator who came within inches of winning £30,000 in a birdman contest says he feels cheated of the prize.

Steve Elkins, from Derbyshire, came closest to the 328ft (100m) target in his modified glider in the Worthing International Birdman at the weekend.

He believed he had won the challenge to fly the distance without mechanical aid, but organisers disagreed.

"Stills from video taken on the day show that he did not reach that buoy," said organiser Sharon Clarke.

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

Mr Elkins registered an official result of 327.4ft (99.8m).

"I suppose I feel a bit cheated because I think the video evidence suggests that I did fly at least 100m," he said.

Ms Clarke, spokeswoman for Worthing Birdman Committee, said that to win, a contestant would have to have his head and shoulders in line with the marker buoy.


Organisers say Steve Elkins missed the 100-metre target by just 14 centimetres

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