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What happened to the Birdman rally?

Roadrage77 20 June 2008 43

Can someone tell me what happened to Canberra’s greatest annual event – the BIRDMAN RALLY? Remember all those fools jumping off a 10metre platform at Regatta point? Did someone die in the name of public entertainment or is it merely another casualty of public liability insurance? I can’t help but feel all of the fun is being taken out of life and people are taking themselves way too seriously these days.

I’m not sure when the last one was held but it would have to have been at least 10-15 years ago. I was a kid when I can last remember it happening, but I vaguely remember the even being replayed on late night TVin the 80’s. From memory you got 5K or so if you could travel 50 metres. Maybe I’m imagining it but I think only one guy managed to do this.

 Birdman- are you out there?


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43 Responses to What happened to the Birdman rally?
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Skidd Marx Skidd Marx 11:51 am 03 Oct 13

JazzyJess said :

I seem to recall in the mid nineties a spectator was knocked into the water and almost drowned. Does anyone else remember that?

There’s coverage of that in the NFSA links. She gets a big hug from the winner, George. I think that may have been a big reason for the public liability insurance ultimately wiping out the event in the early 90’s (the crash, not the hug).

JazzyJess JazzyJess 9:33 am 03 Oct 13

I seem to recall in the mid nineties a spectator was knocked into the water and almost drowned. Does anyone else remember that?

Thumper Thumper 9:09 am 03 Oct 13

Used to rock along to the rally, get completely wasted and have a great time…..

460cixy 460cixy 8:12 am 03 Oct 13

Skidd Marx said :

Nostalgia buffs: the NSFA has posted a couple of videos from the legendary Birdman Rally.

http://www.nfsa.gov.au/blog/2013/10/01/birdman-lake-burley-griffin/

Thanks for posting that. Was great for a laugh

grunge_hippy grunge_hippy 4:34 pm 02 Oct 13

Some friends and I made one and I am sure it was after 1992. It was good for a laugh, although I remember the day being friggin freezing, it had been raining so the grass was sach, I only had on flimsy shoes and I was hungover as all hell. Still good fun though.

Skidd Marx Skidd Marx 11:50 am 02 Oct 13

Nostalgia buffs: the NSFA has posted a couple of videos from the legendary Birdman Rally.

http://www.nfsa.gov.au/blog/2013/10/01/birdman-lake-burley-griffin/

Whispering Assassin Whispering Assassin 4:21 pm 15 Mar 09

G’day Cranky,I raced a Billycart at Mount Panorama last year,Black Mt sounds great. have a look at http://www.aigrf.blogspot.com. Whispering Assassin

p1 p1 12:10 pm 22 Nov 08

Some of the teams would have gone further with that approach. Our launch was a little better, but a combination of one front corner being thrown up by a tall crew member, and the other being dropped by the short crew member (in order to do a flip), resulted in a 45 degree turn to the right, and a distinct nose-down attitude.

ant ant 11:02 am 22 Nov 08

p1 said :

which considering the slightly sub-par launch that my crew gave me, I was pretty happy with.

The visual I have is of the team frog-marching the poster to the edge, swinging him one-two-three and dropping him in.

p1 p1 10:46 am 22 Nov 08

No, I have been looking for the entries to this years flugtag to come out but nothing yet, I hope they run it. The slightly high, and much longer ramp should be an advantage, although most teams didn’t really make use of it. Our box kite made it 8-ish metres, which considering the slightly sub-par launch that my crew gave me, I was pretty happy with.

madmal madmal 9:33 am 22 Nov 08

hi guys i’m not sure when the first birdman rally in canberra took place as i was away from canberra between 1983 and 1985, however the first rally i entered was in 1986 and the last one was in 1994. i flew (if you could call it that) in seven rallies, i missed one when my sister got married the same day in qld.
hey p1 i had a look at a photo of your box kite/fire truck, one of my team mates (we usually entered 2 or 3 crafts) flew a simillar design he went 6 metres with a soft landing. the birdman platform was 5 metres high with a 2 metre runway length. one thing that was apealing about the redbull flugtag was the longer and higher runway. i did enter the redbull flugtag but there were too many entries and mine got cut.
tell me have you heard anything about nest years redbull flugtag? as i have heard nothing yet.

about the nickname while the birdman rally helped justify the name i got it from doing other crazy things before that

mad mal

p1 p1 4:13 pm 18 Nov 08

the red bull flug tag is similar but you can not keep your aircraft after the event which adds to the costs.

Actually, we did have the option of obtaining our craft after the even, however it required picking it up Monday morning in Sydney, and they didn’t guarantee it wouldn’t get damaged removing it from the water. Since I had to be at work in Canberra Monday morning, the creation that had spent the last few months being built in my back yard ended on the scrap heap.

Beserk Keyboard Warrior Beserk Keyboard Warrior 3:59 pm 18 Nov 08

madmal said :

hi guys i went in 7 canberra birdman rallies and yes it was a great event. it was not a victim of insurance or even local goverment but the main supporter capital tv was sold to southern cross tv and they no longer supported the event. for the record the distance for the major prize was 50m had been won twice by george rickie from bathurst. $20,000 the first time and a car the second time. in the year it was cancelled the distance was increased to 100m. the red bull flug tag is similar but you can not keep your aircraft after the event which adds to the costs. my aircrafts were slowly developed over the years. if the birdman rally was on again in canberra i would be the first entry. the flying bug hasn’t gone i now have a pilot licence and fly real airplanes

mad mal

Thanks Mad Mal – no prizes for guessing where you got your nickname. For nostalgic purposes, can you tell us when the first and last Bird Man rallies were held?

madmal madmal 3:38 pm 18 Nov 08

hi guys i went in 7 canberra birdman rallies and yes it was a great event. it was not a victim of insurance or even local goverment but the main supporter capital tv was sold to southern cross tv and they no longer supported the event. for the record the distance for the major prize was 50m had been won twice by george rickie from bathurst. $20,000 the first time and a car the second time. in the year it was cancelled the distance was increased to 100m. the red bull flug tag is similar but you can not keep your aircraft after the event which adds to the costs. my aircrafts were slowly developed over the years. if the birdman rally was on again in canberra i would be the first entry. the flying bug hasn’t gone i now have a pilot licence and fly real airplanes

mad mal

ant ant 8:25 pm 23 Jun 08

Mr Shab said:

Mr_Shab said :

I raced in the ACT scouting Billycart derby back in the late 80’s. Well, when I say “raced”, I mean “pointed shoddily constructed billycart down hill and hung on for dear life”.

Now look, if it’s not shoddily constructed, it’s not a billycart!

Shocking things, mine always had the 2 wheels on the front mounted to a straight bit of something, and steered with string. Just terrible. It was pretty-much mandatory to crash the things.

Today’s kids think that because they can press some buttons on a video game, they can “do” the thing in real life. Skiing and boarding being an example… I had umpteen kiddies turn up to lessons (boys, pretty much) declaring that they’d skiied/boarded before, and it soon turned out they’d only played the video game. They didn’t understand the difference. They soon did, however.

p1 p1 3:45 pm 23 Jun 08

Right, that settles it. We need a billy-cart flugtag event, where scouts build billy-carts with wings that race down the hill at Regatta Point before launching out over the lake to see who can get closest to the James Cook fountain, with the winners going on a parade through the city.

I second this! (another) Huzzah!

Absent Diane Absent Diane 3:14 pm 23 Jun 08

we need some serious street festivals like they have (or had?) in melbourne with all sorts of stuff like this. and lost of drinking. liability issues in this country have rendered the place pretty boring..

fnaah fnaah 2:56 pm 23 Jun 08

Right, that settles it. We need a billy-cart flugtag event, where scouts build billy-carts with wings that race down the hill at Regatta Point before launching out over the lake to see who can get closest to the James Cook fountain, with the winners going on a parade through the city.

Huzzah!

Mr_Shab Mr_Shab 2:35 pm 23 Jun 08

I raced in the ACT scouting Billycart derby back in the late 80’s. Well, when I say “raced”, I mean “pointed shoddily constructed billycart down hill and hung on for dear life”.

I witnessed plenty lost of skin, but I think there was a greater willingness to accept that kind of thing as an inevitable part of being a boy. I’d say the current generation of cotton-wool wrapped kiddies and their chronically anxious parents wouldn’t really stand for it without it ending up in court when little Tarquin took a spill and broke an arm.

Sad, really.

p1 p1 1:55 pm 23 Jun 08

Scouts also ran a billycart race on one of the roads in ADFA, but that went away as well.

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