• 2017 Murrays Bay Birdman Champion Joel Posthuma in full flight. Great photo by Gail Stenton who took some great action photos at the 2017 event.

Reigning Birdman champ becomes a real flyer

As we look forward to the 2018 event, 2017 Murrays Bay Birdman Champion Joel Posthuma reflects on his triumph

Last year when I entered the Murrays Bay Wharf Birdman Rally, I was the successful winner. My younger brothers helped me build a plane with a five metre wing span which had a tail with working controls. This all sat on a big frame with wheels and I then had my older brothers push me off the end of Murrays Bay wharf. I successfully flew about 15-20 metres and then had a ride to shore in a lifesaving boat.

The event was amazing fun and I will definitely be competing in the 2018 event. The prizes sponsors gave were just incredible! My favourite prize was a free flying lesson thanks to the North Shore Aero Club.

This prize entitled me to a 30 minute trial flying lesson with the North Shore Aero Club.

When I got to the North Shore Aerodrome, I waited on the lookout deck until my instructor came. It was lots of fun watching all the planes take off and land. I even saw an old war plane take off!

When my flight instructor came, he took me to a room to show me some flying basics and rules. He then gave me a headset to wear and we went out to the plane. He took off and flew up to a safe height and then he let me take control. I flew out over Orewa and then along the coast to Kawau Bay and flew around there for a while. It was a stunning day at the beginning of September so we had amazing views. I could see lots of islands and other things below. It felt so much cooler than being in a big passenger plane.

All too soon we needed to head back to the Aerodrome. The instructor let me line the the plane up for landing and then he took over and landed. Wow! What an experience!!

I tried to fly off the wharf but my flight in a ROBIN 2120 was much more successful!
 - Joel Posthuma


2018 Murrays May Birdman Festival - Join in the fun on Saturday April 7th, from 10.30am at Murrays Bay.

Last year it was back to 1976 with the relaunch of the birdman event and thousands turned out to see their fellow men and women flying like birds off the wharf. Due to that success the event is back for 2018 – bigger than ever. It’s a festival of fun!

The Birdman event is a competition for human powered flying machines and involves human ‘birdmen’ attempting to “fly” the furthest distance off the end of a wharf/pier into the sea, aiming (like Joel) to win the Birdman trophy.

In 2018 there are prices for:- Ultimate Flying Challenge - the longest distance; Fibers and Feathers - must use natural materials and fibers; Most Creative - build up or dance recommended; Best Team; Battle of the Schools - one student team per high school.

Programme of events:- 10.30am Entertainment; 12.00pm Children’s & Birdman Parade followed by the Birdman Jump; 1.30pm Birdman Prizegiving followed on by more food, fun and entertainment; Event closes at 3.00pm.

Entry forms to be completed and returned with payment ($30) by 17th of March 2018. You can enter online via the event website. Entries limited so be quick – it will sell out!


Big thanks to North Shore Aero Club who supplied the winner two comprehensive flying lessons including pre flight briefings and 2.0 hours of flight time. And that’s not all, they are also providing us with additional prizes for other winners. Great photo by Gail Stenton gail@gailstentphotography.com who took some great action photos at the 2017 event.