Melburnians Take Part In Annual Birdman Rally At Moomba Festival

Taking Flight in Melbourne

People and their (almost) flying machines hurl themselves into the Yarra River.

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's... a man trying to be maybe both a bird and a plane? Welcome to Melbourne's Birdman Rally, a tradition dating back to 1976 where contestants see how far they can jump, er, fly, into the Yarra River.

What Goes Up ... Must Come Down Darrian Traynor/Getty Images What Goes Up ... Must Come Down The event is part of Melbourne's annual Moomba festival, which draws over a million visitors each year. Guardian Angel Darrian Traynor/Getty Images Guardian Angel The homemade flying contraptions take all kinds of shapes. Some opt for hang glider models, some try to replicate other classic flying machines, and some take, well, a leap of faith with their original designs. Fallen Angel Darrian Traynor/Getty Images Fallen Angel It is no easy task. Wright or Wrong? Darrian Traynor/Getty Images Wright or Wrong? The raucous event raises funds for various charities. [Can we namecheck one or two?] Safety First Darrian Traynor/Getty Images Safety First Crews are on hand to rescue "pilots" and their contraptions from the inevitable water landings. Taking Flight Darrian Traynor/Getty Images Taking Flight It takes creativity, craftsmanship, and a bit of bravery to dream up one of these contraptions and take that running jump. Crash Landing Darrian Traynor/Getty Images Crash Landing And a bit of humility, too. Up, Up, and Away! Darrian Traynor/Getty Images Up, Up, and Away! Down, Down, and... Darrian Traynor/Getty Images Down, Down, and... Out! Darrian Traynor/Getty Images Out!