Man Flies by Flapping Homemade Bird Wings

'Best feeling of my life,' says free-as-a-bird Jarno Smeets
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 21, 2012 1:04 AM CDT
Updated Mar 21, 2012 6:19 AM CDT

For a few astounding moments, a Dutch engineer was as free as a bird—and flew like one, too. (Note: Some CGI experts think it's a hoax.) Calling it the "best feeling I have felt in my life," Jarno Smeets seemingly took to the air for 60 seconds by flapping his custom-made bird wings. "I have always dreamed about this," he says on his YouTube page. "But after eight months of hard work, research, and testing, it all paid off." Smeets got the idea from sketches of a flying bicycle drawn by his grandfather, who never actually built the contraption, reports Wired.

Smeets carefully stitched together the 37-ounce fabric wireless wings, with a kind of tail feather, all based on a sophisticated aerodynamic design. His flapping arms provided 5% of the energy needed to provide lift, while the rest was created by a combination of Wii controllers, accelerometers from an Android phone, and Turnigy motors. “You're running. At one moment you see the ground moving away, and then suddenly you’re free," Smeets says on his video, near tears. "Effing magical." (Read more Jarno Smeets stories.)

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