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

For photo's and background information, please consult my projectwebsite: Website:

YouTube channel: Twitter:

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  • @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.

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

  • 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.

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



  • Moderator
    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.
  • Developer

    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.

  • 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.

  • Hang on, we already know his flying machine is supposedly powered by a motor (if it were real).  Supposedly the craft uses accelerometers connected to the arms to control the flight, and this was supposedly demonstrated in some of his other videos.  The published diagrams on the website already show quite clearly four 5000mAh LiPo packs and two Turnigy outrunners (approx 3kW).

    The question wasn't whether this flying machine is powered by a motor, the question is whether this is real or not.

    Since it is a hoax, I care not what it is powered by.

  • This evening the creator revealed this evening in a Dutch talkshow that his flying machine is powered by a motor. This means it is all hoax. According to citics it is impossible to achieve flying without any mechanical help. They claim that the human body cannot provide enough power to move such wings, and it would probally crush bones. He made this all up to prove that you can fake the world with one good blogpost.

    The article: (you can use Google Translate to translate the article to another language).

  • Well, he just atmitted it is a cinematic experiment on dutch television :)
    A shame its a hoax, but perfectly performed..
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