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Home-made flying machines fail to take off

The only way is down for one of the home-made flying machines Keystone

Thousands of people gathered on the shores of Lake Geneva in Lausanne on Saturday to watch intrepid inventors jump off a purpose-built runway in man-made flying machines.

No less than 45 pilots braved force six winds as they launched themselves off the runway in celebration of Flying Day.

Some of the more unusual craft built especially for the event included a flying igloo, a flying truck, a flying elephant, a zeppelin, a pterodactyl and a flying classroom.

While many of the machines were pedal powered, some pilots relied on roller blades or leg power to get them and their crafts to the end of the runway, over the ramp and into the air.

Flying Day started in 1992 in Vienna, Austria, and has since spread to other venues around the world.

The rules of the competition state that the flying machine must be completely home-made, with a wingspan of no more than 10 metres.

The vast majority of competitors crash-landed into the freezing water of the lake as soon as they leapt off the runway, but some did exceed the three metres they could have achieved simply by jumping off the end of the platform.

The record distance for a home-made machine at a Flying Day event is 62 metres.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR