People CAN Fly: Man Takes Off with Custom-Made Bird Wings

How many times have you wished you could soar through the sky like a bird, only to remind yourself that it wasn’t possible? For me, it must have been a million times. But now it doesn’t seem like such a remote possibility, not after watching this video of a man flying with a pair of custom-made wings.

Flying is something humans have been obsessed with, the one form of movement that we’ve never been able to master. Several attempts have been made over the centuries to invent the perfect set of wings that could enable man to fly independently. Now, it appears that this has finally happened, if the claims of Jarno Smeets are to be believed. The authenticity of a video he created of himself flying is being questioned, but it sure does appear like he’s doing it for real. And he looks like he’s having a hell of a time.

It took the Dutch bloke a year to build these wings that allow him to spend a whole minute in flight. He wears the gigantic wings on his arms, and he needs to keep flapping them like crazy to keep the movement going. After the descent, he’s barely able to talk, panting heavily from all the flapping. The whole exercise seems to be in blatant defiance of the generally accepted fact that human muscle power cannot fuel bird-like wings to take flight. Smeets seems to have achieved the impossible with the addition of a couple of electric motors to the wings.


The whole thing looks absolutely incredible, but experts aren’t yet buying it. For one, the wings in the video do not show any signs of loading during the flight. Also, the battery used doesn’t appear to be large enough to support such a flying operation. Controversy aside, I sure would want to try flying like a bird if it were possible.

Human Birdwings via Wired

UPDATE: Unfortunately for us would-be birdmen, the video turned out to be a fake. The guy, who apparently didn’t even use his real name, came out on national TV in the Netherlands and announced the video was indeed a hoax. Like always, we fell for it and got another prankster his 24 hours of fame. Oh well, I guess it’s back to buying plane tickets…


Posted in Tech, Videos        Tags: , , , , , ,