On his blog Human Birdwings, Jarno Smeets, a mechanical engineer from the Netherlands, posted a video on Tuesday showing him lifting off from the ground using a self-constructed pair of wings.
We did it! says Smeets's video description on YouTube. This weekend I flew a 100 meters with my selfbuilt wings... I have always dreamed about this. But after 8 months of hard work, research and testing it all paid off. Enjoy!
In the video, it doesn't seem as though Smeets's arms, which are flapping throughout his flight, are attached to the wings in any way. That's because the wings are reportedly built with Nintendo Wii controllers and an Android smartphone, enabling the apparatus to read his motions and interpret them into mechanical commands.
The wings themselves are broad and aerodynamic, made with material from a Slingshot Fuel kite. The design relies on an aluminum framework.
During the short flight, Smeets had friends filming his ascent from the ground while recording his own version from a camera attached to his helmet.
But on YouTube, many commenters have decided that this video has been altered to distort the truth. Viewers claim that the helmet-cam does not match up with the ground view, and that the fabric of the wings does not appear to be flapping realistically.
Smeets has been blogging about his efforts for some time, but the video of the successful flight has only recently been posted. Further verification will determine whether or not one brave Dutchman has achieved a feat that so many others have only dreamed of.
Fortin is the IBTimes Africa Correspondent based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She joined IBT in February of 2012, and has previously worked as an editor and reporter for...