Viral Video: Dutch Engineer Appears to Fly by Flapping His Motor Powered Human Birdwings
Jarno Smeets has been working on his Human Birdwings for several months. Now he claims to have finally accomplished his goal of human flight with wings. He posted this video that shows him taking off like some enormous butterfly using his selfbuilt motor-powered wings, flying for 100 meters and then gliding back in for a landing. This is a huge improvement from the tiny hop his human birdwings managed three months ago.
The video is viraling around the Internet and has already been posted on Wired, PopSciTested.com, IGN, among other sites. The video does not appear to be getting enough skepticism on these sites, except in the comments section.
The birdwings are powered by motors, but they don't appear to be powerful enough to help get a 176 pound man off the ground. Smeets has a blog post about the wings here on his site. Smeets' writes, "My calculations say that with a total weight of 100kg (me 80kg, wingpack 20kg), we would need about 2000W of continuous power. Well-trained arms can output about 5% of that, so we will rely mainly on the outrunner motors for driving the wings. Because human arms and pectoral muscles aren't very strong, they will mainly function as guides, to control the flapping wing movements in a natural and intuitive way."
Gizmodo has more details about Smeet's birdwings here, where there is a debate raging in the comments about whether the flight is real or fake. Smeets says he had a GoPro-camera on his helmet during his flight. Smeets says, "I have always dreamed about this. But after 8 months of hard work, research and testing it all payed off." Take a look: