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Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's Worcester daredevil Ed Ling taking to the skies again
THE MAIDEN voyage may have ended in disaster but a daredevil has not let catastrophe put him off re-entering Worthing International Birdman.
Edward Ling will be hoping that his second effort Freedom Flyer in the annual competition will have him glide effortlessly across the English Channel this weekend.
Last year, the disappointed Droitwich daredevil had to abandon his homemade craft after high winds on the south coast caused it to break.
The accountant was left having to leap into the sea from the end of Worthing Pier without a flying machine but vowed to return to the competition.
The 48-year-old, from Westwood Avenue, is not relying on a wing and a prayer alone this year and has taken advice from a mechanical engineer to improve his new flying machine.
He said: "I learned a few lessons last year - it was a disaster.
"There's no wooden stuff or propeller and instead I've strengthened it with aluminium.
"The mechanical engineer has given me some supervision and, though it is an unknown how far it will actually fly, he believes it will travel as far forward as the drop down which is about 30 feet.
"I'm going to go onto the Malvern Hills with it, not to attempt to fly it but to get used to how it will feel when the wind begins to take it."
He has spent about 300 hours perfecting the contraption which he will fly in the Leonardo Da Vinci Class with four other competitors.
Mr Ling has also taken more consideration about his own safety this year and will wear body armour and a proper helmet.
If his self-made craft flies over a 100 metre distance and is the furthest flight he stands a chance of winning £10,000.
The ambitious endeavour will raise money for Hope for Justice, an anti-human trafficking organisation which rescues and assists victims of modern-day slavery.
Already, Mr Ling has raised £190 on the online donation page justgiving.com/edward-ling but hopes to reach his target of £500.