Novelty swan dive goes just swimmingly for charity funsters
PUBLISHED: 17:53 11 June 2008 | UPDATED: 09:40 12 August 2010
A TEAM of novelty pilots briefly took to the skies as they launched their home made swan-craft off a 6ft pier into a lake for charity. Electrician Ollie Marsden, 24, of Paddock Close, Locksbottom and his three friends Mike Searle, 21, Anthony Coster, 22
A TEAM of novelty pilots briefly took to the skies as they launched their home made swan-craft off a 6ft pier into a lake for charity.
Electrician Ollie Marsden, 24, of Paddock Close, Locksbottom and his three friends Mike Searle, 21, Anthony Coster, 22, and Olly Laws, 24, took part in the Red Bull Flugtag competition which invites participants to design and build any type of craft in the hope theirs will go the farthest.
It took them seven weeks to build their entry, called 'Swan Airlines', which came 7th out of 40 participants in the event at Hyde Park's Serpentine Lake last Saturday.
Mr Marsden said: "It was such a brilliant day and definitely worth all the effort. We were amazed that we came in the top 10. The crowd really like the design. It was like being a celebrity on the day with everyone checking us out."
Swan Airlines was made from 18,000 real feathers specially shipped over from the USA.
Mr Marsden said: "We thought it would only take a few weekends to make it but it turned out to be more like seven.
"I had two weeks off work to do it but it wasn't too strenuous though, there was lots of beer and barbeques involved."
Mr Marsden piloted the swan aircraft, propelled by the other three who launched him off the pier.
He said: "The bird can only take one person riding it so I volunteered at the beginning, but I did get cold feet as the time drew nearer.
"The other three pushed it really hard and we got quite a bit of speed up. It ended up going about nine metres which surprised us. It hurt when I hit the water but it was definitely worth it.
"It's not until the day that they tell you about the health and safety that thoughts start rushing through your head but I was glad that we all got through it unscathed.
"We were expecting to drop like flies because we'd never had a practice go or anything. Most people crash and burn but it's just for a laugh."
More than 80,000 people watched the teams' flying attempts which were also awarded points for the entertainment value of the pre-flight performance. The celebrity judging panel included Strictly Come Dancing's Craig Revel-Horwood, BBC Fame Academy's Carrie Grant and model Jodie Kidd.
Mr Marsden said: "Standing on the stage was nerve wracking but it was a brilliant buzz with everyone looking at us.
"It would have been heartbreaking if nobody had liked our design after putting so much effort in, but thankfully that didn't happen. We're definitely up for doing it again next year. It was such a laugh."
Money raised from the event will go the Royal Parks Foundation for the maintenance of Hyde Park.
Highlights from the Red Bull Flugtag will be broadcast on ITV4 on June 15 at 5.30pm and ITV1 on June 23 at 12.15am.