Amazing bird man – Jarno Smeets

Dutch Engineer Jarno Smeets has done it. After ten years of research, months of preparation, test flights, and wing tears, he has succeeded where Leonardo Da Vinci, Otto Lilienthal and countless others have failed. This is possibly one of the most important moments in aviation – take a look.

This glorious 60 second flight was filmed last weekend (19th March), and you can see how much it means to the 31 year old Dutchman who stitched the 37 ounce micro fabric wireless wings himself.

“I was running, and at one moment, you see the ground moving away, and then suddenly you’re free… a really intense feeling of freedom. A true feeling of flying, a ****ing magical moment…the best feeling I have felt in my life.”

Jarno Smeets

After studying mechanics at Coventry University, and inspired by his grandfather’s rudimentary sketches of a flying bicycle, Smeets decided to turn his dream into reality by creating a DIY project with the ultimate goal: to fly like a bird. The road to success was long and frustrating as the following video illustrates.

Smeets created an intricate system of Wii controllers, motors and accelerometers which transformed the energy created by his arms into the energy needed to flap the enormous 40 foot wings.

Unlike Jves Rossy, the Jetman, who bails out of a plane to fly like a bird, or Dean Potter who jumps off a cliff, Smeets’ invention takes you from the ground to the sky, and back again. This first test flight has opened the floodgates for semi-human powered transport; how long can it be before the car is banished to the garage and we take to the skies for the daily ‘grind’?

Be sure to check out Smeets’ YouTube page and for the full story and some incredible videos.

If you liked this, check out Dean Potter FreeBASE, Amazing Jetman Races Plane, and the Amazing wingsuit video

Many thanks to Will Southern for the amazing suggestion

AMAZING, BUT NOT REAL (update: 22 March 2012)

We had barely started to come to terms with the implications of this feat for the world of amazing stuff, when it was revealed to be a hoax created by Dutch artist and CGI expert Floris Kaayk.   The eight-month project was meticulous in its execution, fooling basically everyone with dreams.  Definitely an amazing hoax.

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