Editor's note: On Thursday evening in Holland, "Jarno Smeets" went on a TV show and revealed that the human birdwings video is part of an elaborate hoax for a documentary film about hoaxes. The full story on the hoax is at GIzmodo. The original story remains below for posterity.
Jarno Smeets is a man with a dream. He want to fly. Not using an airplane, a hang glider, or a parasail, but like a bird. Jarno spent the last eight months researching and building a pair of massive, mechanically-assisted bird wings to accomplish that goal. Where Leonardo da Vinci and countless others since failed, Jarno succeeded. Watch the video.
Using an albatross as his model, Jarno assembled the wings and motor system, and controls the whole thing with a pair of Wii remotes and an Android phone. The wings are about 7m across, which aligns with actual bird’s typical mass to wingspan ratios. Jarno took flight last weekend. If I were Jarno, the most difficult part of that first flight would be ever wanting to land. You can see the whole story of his project at his site and his YouTube channel.