Meet Jarno Smeets, the Man who Flies Like a Bird

Who says humans can't fly like a bird? Like a modern day Icarus, Dutch engineer Jarno Smeets modeled his wings after the albatross, and flapped his arms wildly to fly like a bird (yes, with a little help from motors). From Wired Science:

Working with the fabric was difficult because it was very fragile, Smeets wrote on his blog. “It’s important to sew the seams carefully, and give the wing shape extra strength without making it too heavy. The top part of the kite will be folded around the ribs to create an aerodynamic shape. For extra lift and control I’ll stretch a piece of kite fabric between the legs, as some sort of tail wing.”

According to Smeets’ calculations, he needed approximately 2,000 Watts of continuous power to support his roughly 180-pound frame and 40-pound wing pack. His arms could only really provide 5 percent of that, so the rest would have to come from motors. His arms and pecs would basically serve to guide the device and to flap the wings.

He built his electronic, wireless wing set out of Wii controllers, accelerometers harvested from an HTC Wildfire Android phone and Turnigy motors.

When he landed after the 60-second flight, he said, “At one moment you see the ground moving away, and then suddenly you’re free, a really intense feeling of freedom. The true feeling of flying. A [bleep] magical moment. The best feeling I have felt in my life.”

Hit play or go to Link [YouTube] | Jarno's website - via Wired Science

Update 3/20/12: The Internet is buzzing with the speculation that this is faked. What do you think? Update 3/21/12: A Dutch artist admitted that he was Jarno Smeets, and that the whole thing was an elaborate hoax:
“My name is Floris Kaayk I’m actually a filmmaker and animator. I am now 8 months working on an experiment about online media,” Kaayk told the show, according to a Dutch-to-English translation in a YouTube video. Kaayk said attempted the hoax because “it’s everybody’s dream to fly.”

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This is fake. The CGI in the first attempt video is worse and lets you see how fake it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0tKFOcHyrI&list=UU7W2f5n5vYfM7TYVir3iPGw&index=2&feature=plcp
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