A Dutch engineer has stunned the world with a new video in which he is shown taking flight by strapping on a set of wings, running and flapping his arms like a bird. Using Nintendo Wii technology, Jarno Smeets has rigged a contraption in which the motion of his arms is synced to that of a huge pair of wings made of kite fabric. In his first successful flight on March 18, he apparently used his “Human Bird Wings” to soar a horizontal distance of 328 feet (100 meters) above a park in the Netherlands.
“I am about 85 percent certain this is a BVMP (branded viral movie production),” said Brent Coker, an Internet marketing expert at the University of Melbourne. Coker put out a theory last year highlighting what it takes for a viral-produced movie to actually go viral, and Human Bird Wings appears to have all the elements of success.
See what those elements are in the article.
Tip: @matthetube on Twitter (Matt Crowley)
This thing was all over social media. I can’t even list all the places I saw this and much discussion took place over its authenticity. Critical thinkers were critical.
Gizmodo says no: CGI Experts Say Flying Bird Man Is Fake
Jamie Hyneman of Mythbusters thought it plausible: THOUGHTS ON THE MECHANICS OF ASSISTED HUMAN FLIGHT
“I’m tempted to play along, but unfortunately from a physical perspective it’s completely unrealistic,” Reichert told The Huffington Post in an email. “Given an estimated total weight of 100 kg, a wing area of 9 square meters, maximum lift coefficient of 1.0, and an air density of 1.22 kilograms per cubic meter…the vehicle would have to travel at least 49 kilometers per hour to stay airborne.”
In other words, it’s just impossible that the flight took place as depicted unless Smeets was running into an extraordinarily stiff headwind. Or as Reichert explained, “Unless this guy can blow by Usain Bolt in a sprint, he’s not going to reach takeoff speed by running.”
So is it or isn’t he the Flying Dutchman? I would imagine it would be darned easy to reproduce if it was true. Let’s go.