WILL they soar to victory or will they crash and burn?

Local inventors Gareth Pritchard, James Jowett and Oliver Addison are hoping to harness the spirit of the Wright brothers in a man-powered flying contest in Leeds.

The trio, along with pilot Ben Addison, are set to battle 33 other teams from across the country at the 2011 Redbull Flugtag.

The annual event challenges teams to launch their handbuilt planes from a 6m (30ft) tall ramp to see who can fly the furthest.

This year it will be held at the lake in Leeds’ Roundhay Park.

Team member Gareth said they were hoping their entry’s name, Stairway to Heaven, would prove to be a fitting description.

The professional furniture designer said he and kitchen designer James had done their sums along with staircase designer Oliver and were confident their aircraft could really take off.

But he said with no test flights possible they wouldn’t know if their hours of hard graft had paid off until the moment it was launched.

Their strange craft is currently taking shape in a woodwork workshop in Cleckheaton and the Batley-based team are confident.

Gareth said: “Are we going to make it to heaven or is it going to sink? We won’t know until we try and take off.

“We want to make a plane that flies.

“It’s a fun event but we’re definitely a serious entry.

“James used to make his own kites so he’s quite into aeronautics.

“We’ve researched into it and we’ve done some proper calculations.

“The theory is behind us so it should take off.”

The eccentric event also requires teams to perform a 30 second pre-flight performance.

Gareth said they were set to capture the crowd’s imagination with a crazy devil dance.

He said: “We’re going to be painted red with massive wings and doing some kind of dance or slapstick comedy, picking on the angel.

“We’ve got thunder and lightning and music, it should be fun.”

Other teams taking part include Barnsley’s Come on Kes, Halifax’s Roller Dolls and To Infinity and the Pond from Leeds.

The Redbull Bull Flugtag is on Sunday, July 17. The top prize is flying lessons for the team.

Tickets are free via www.redbull.co.uk – deadline July 8.

Red Bull Flugtag challenges the brave and brainy to design, build and pilot home-made flying machines off a 30-foot high flight deck.

Since the first Red Bull Flugtag took place in Vienna, Austria, in 1991, almost 100 Red Bull Flugtags have been held around the globe.

Flugtag, which means “flying day” in German, pushes the envelope of human-powered flight, but competitors need more than airtime to reach the podium.

Teams are judged on three criteria: flight distance, creativity of the craft, and showmanship.