Dutch engineer is the first man in history to fly like a bird with self- built wings

The Hague, Netherlands, 20th March 2012


Dutch engineer is the first man in history to fly like a bird with self- built wings

Engineer Jarno Smeets (31) is the first man in history to have made a successful short flight with his self-built wings modeled on the movement and structure of real bird wings. Assisted by an electronic system of his own design, Smeets took off from the ground in a park in The Hague last sunday 18th of March 2012. The flight of an estimated hundred meters lasted about a minute, after which Smeets landed safely.

Until now people had assumed that it was impossible to fly with bird-like wings using human muscle power. Smeets designed his own system to solve this problem, using two Wii controllers, the accelerometers from a HTC Wildfire S smartphone and Turnigy motors. This combined mechanism provided Smeets with extra power to move his 17m2 wings and allowed him to move his arms freely without any risk of breaking them. The system is a wireless (haptic) concept. The wing itself was built out of a kite and carbon windsurf masts (as flightpins).

Human Bird Wings is an independent project initiated from the personal ambition and vision of Dutch engineer Jarno Smeets. “Ever since I was a little boy I have been inspired by pioneers like Otto Lilienthal, Leonardo da Vinci and also my own grandfather”. Six months ago Smeets started researching. Smeets has developed and realized his wings with support from an independent team assembled under the Human Bird Wings project, sharing his progress through a well documented blog and YouTube channel. He has offered his followers an open source concept in building bird wings. Aided by helpful suggestions of his audience he was able to successfully finish his bird wings concept.

With this project Smeets has proven that modern technology and robotica can create realistic futures from seemingly impossible engineering dreams to fly like a bird


If you'd like more information about the project or contact Jarno Smeets directly you can call this phonenumber +31 618369328 or send an e-mail to humanbirdwingsproject@gmail.com

For photo's and background information, please consult my projectwebsite: Website: http://www.humanbirdwings.net/press/

YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/jarnosmeets80 Twitter: www.twitter.com/jarnosmeets80

Views: 7565

Comment by Ellison Chan on March 22, 2012 at 12:51pm

Well, this  Floris Kaayk, his real name, sounds like a real douce bag.  If the google Dutch translation is accurate he did it all as a "joke".  I hope he's satisfied that now he's known to the world as a big fat liar.  It will be a great addition to his real CV and serve him well in his future endeavours.

Comment by Jan Detlefsen on March 22, 2012 at 12:57pm

it's a fake, with motor or not. even with a motor this is out of reach for a construction based on bedsheet and what not.

i don't condemn him. he just shows people lack critical thinking and believe that sort of stuff too easily.

Comment by Mark Colwell on March 22, 2012 at 6:04pm

I am now convinced that he did NOT fly in the video!  He failed and pulled some of us into his web of deceit. He should have published the failures, so others could aid his quest. I don't see that happening now. But I do appreciate his attempt to design a motor aided man lifter.

Comment by Sgt Ric on March 22, 2012 at 6:16pm
From the media reports, it is clear that he was not in any way a designer/experimenter, least of all a pioneer.
He admits to being a CGI graphic artist and computer animator, interested in a media experiment.

I doubt there is anything in this event which will aid anyone in the future.
Comment by Joel Venable on March 23, 2012 at 9:00am

For those of you who didn't see this link from the Mythbusters link (may have just been recently posted):




Comment by John Campen on March 24, 2012 at 6:03am

Looking at the mechanics and electronics it all looks very feasible. Its not like he is only relying on his own strength which certainly would be near impossible even for a gymnast.

Comment by Ellison Chan on March 26, 2012 at 4:45pm

I think one more generation of batteries and motors should do it.

Comment by Yuan Gao on March 26, 2012 at 4:51pm

@Kernal Panic: I think it's because this forum is full of people with more background and/or interest in flight than most other places.

I don't think anyone here has any doubt that some day someone will make a backpack ornithopter, just not this guy.


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