‘Bird-Man’ YouTube Video Confirmed to Be a Hoax

Mar 23, 2012 11:27am

Turns out humans still can’t fly, despite the images in a popular YouTube video.

Floris Kaayk, a Dutchman, posted a video titled “Human Birdwings” March 19. In it, he has two large wings attached to his arms. As he takes a running start and flaps his arms, he lifts himself off the ground to look like, well, a flying bird. He soars through the sky and then lands safely on the ground.

Kaayk, or Jarno Smeets, as he nicknamed himself, has become an Internet sensation known as the flying bird-man. The video has gotten more than 4 million views since it posted.

Except, it turns out, he fooled us all.

Or at least some of us. Many started to speculate that Kaayk wasn’t actually flying, pointing out inconsistencies in the video. For instance, in one shot there is a spot on the wing and in another there isn’t. Others did the math; the wings wouldn’t provide the force to lift an 160-pound man off the ground.

And, then, there was the marketing aspect of it. In a making-of-the-wings video, he mentioned that he used a series of products to make the flight happen: two Wii remotes, an HTC Wildfire Android phone, and a GoPro camera to film it all.

Kaayk finally admitted that it was all a hoax on Dutch television, on his own blog, and to ABC News directly. He confessed that he is a filmmaker and animator and this has been a “fictional online storytelling project.”

“‘Human Birdwings’ was an online adventure and invention story in which fictional character Jarno Smeets developed wings in a do-it-yourself manner,” he says. Additionally, he told ABC News that “I really wish this would become reality one day. I hope to inspire ‘real’ mechanical engineers with this project to start building wings!”

And there you have it: We’ll just have to wait a bit longer to see humans soar into the sky for real.

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