(C) Setsuko Watanbe 2000

The Toriningen (Bird Man) Contest is held every year on Lake Biwa in the last ten days of July to determine which university can design, make and fly the best man-powered airplane or glider in Japan. It is well known in Japan, as it is broadcast on TV every year.

The contest has the following 3 divisions.

  1. The man-powered division in which contestants compete to fly the longest distance. So far, all teams have used bicycle pedal powered propellers as the "engine". The record for the longest flight is about 23 km.
  2. The glider division in which contests compete to see who can glide the furthest.
  3. The challenging division in which contestants compete their designs of their own planes.