Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Barnsley team attempt to build kestrel flying machine

Two men from Barnsley are building a flying machine inspired by the town's most famous film, Kes.

Paul Woodcock and Keiron Clarke are crafting an 24ft (8m) wide kestrel perched on an arm for a flying event in Leeds in July.

The Flugtag event will take place at Roundhay Park in Leeds on 17 July.

More than 35 teams will be vying to see whose machine can fly the greatest distance.

Mr Woodcock and Mr Clarke are attempting to build their machine in four weeks.

The Kes craft will be flown by a pilot, named Tommo.

"He's only just joined the team. I spotted him in a cafe in Darton last Saturday," said Mr Woodcock.

Image caption The team have used materials from Sheffield companies for the machine

"He was eating his breakfast and I thought: 'He's a small kid, who weighs nine stones. He looks perfect to fly a giant kestrel in to the water'."

Before the flying machine is pushed along the short runway, the team must perform a 30-second pre-flight performance.

The Barnsley team has decided to perform the film Kes in 30-seconds.

The 1969 film, directed by Ken Loach, featured the story of youngster Billy Casper, who trains a kestrel he took from a nest.

After the performance, the machine will be launched off a six-metre high runway, using only human power.

A panel will then measure the distance that Kes travels, with points being awarded for every metre it travels.

The winning team will be given £5,000 or flying lessons to gain a private pilot's licence.

In preparation for the event, the team has built a 180ft test runway, using scaffolding and wood in a field in Barnsley.

Mr Woodcock said: "We are genuinely trying to do well in this competition."

The record for the furthest flight at a Flugtag event stands at 63.1m which was set in Minneapolis earlier this year.

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