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back to article Dutch birdman admits flight was filmic fantasy

The "Flying Dutchman" who enthralled world+dog earlier this week with a video of him flying through the wild blue yonder by flapping homemade wings has admitted that the entire airborne affair was but a hoax. And so was the name of the supposedly intrepid aviator: "Jarno Smeets" is in actuality a fictional character created by …

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Silver badge

A marvelous way to fly?

What - in the air for a minute and traveled less distance than he 'ran' getting up to speed in a few seconds?

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Silver badge

Re: A marvelous way to fly?

Indeed, running and flapping 'til near exhaustion doesn't seem that marvellous. Perhaps I'm just getting too old for that sort of thing.

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Anonymous Coward

who

Believed him?

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Unhappy

Re: who?

Not even the usually-so-gullible-on-pseudoscience Beeb believed it! Their clip ended with the voiceover saying it looked more like computer generated than real footage.

So yes, who on earth believed it??

I like it that it boils down to "Dutchman admits physics laws still hold".

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What the adage - "It's easier to sell people a lie if it's one they dearly wish was true."

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Anonymous Coward

That's way the afterlife is such a popular lie.

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Go

It must be possible...

What about that girl on youtube who uses a swarm of robot quadcopters to fly around?

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Pint

That's the idea Reg, bury this one when everyone's down the pub :D

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Anonymous Coward

Apart from the fact that the film look as convincing as the more ropey animations in Jason and the Argonauts I can see why some were fooled.

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Anonymous Coward

But that's the problem Mr Reg. If your friends tell you about their dreams, you share them.

If they lie to you about their lives, you stop caring.

So as this was a stunt, a hoax and close to a con, I care so little about it. If it had been an open piece of art or interaction, I'd love it!

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Stipe me.

Well. Ffs. Colour me surprised.

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At least, he should've done in April.

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Holmes

Told you so....

Told you so (see my comment on previous article about this Dutch ass-clown ("I call bullshit")). Can we get back to real articles please?

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Trollface

Colour me skeptical - part 2

Even though I don't automatically believe' them, this from Wikipedia:

"Critical thinking has been described as “reasonable reflective thinking focused on deciding what to believe or do. It has also been described as "thinking about thinking". ...... More recently, critical thinking has been described as "the process of purposeful, self-regulatory judgment, which uses reasoned consideration to evidence, context, conceptualizations, methods, and criteria."

Oooh, look, a pink unicorn!

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FAIL

You lying b*stards!

The author of the original piece fell for this look, line and sinker!

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Non Flying Dutchman

The author of the original piece probably expected that German bloke to take off, that was on Britains Got Talent, the other night. !-)

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FAIL

Not possible

Human-powered flight is physically impossible.

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FAIL

Human-powered flight is physically impossible.

Of course it's possible:

http://www.personal.soton.ac.uk/aijf197/suhpa/index.html

There are many more examples available.

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Bronze badge
Windows

Are you with the Royal Society, Sir?

"Radio has no future. Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible. X-rays will prove to be a hoax." -- William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, British scientist, 1899.

"Space travel is bunk" -Sir Harold Spencer Jones, Astronomer Royal of

Britain, 1957, two weeks before the launch of Sputnik.

"Fooling around with alternating current is just a waste of time. Nobody

will use it, ever." - Thomas Edison, 1889

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Thomas Edison

Cutting and pasting from http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Incorrect_predictions are we?

Thomas Edison was naysaying AC as marketing FUD - not because he actually believed DC was better.

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Trollface

Re: Not possible

So you've not heard of the Gossamer Condor/Albatross? What are your thoughts on men walking on the moon, BTW? Processors faster than 1MHz? Electronic calculators that don't use valves? Mechanical adding machines?

Just curious what year your knowledge of engineering stops. Sometime before 1977, but when...? ;)

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oh that complete bastard - way to get my hopes up

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Anonymous Coward

No

No, it wasn't elaborate and it didn't look convincing. The guy wrote fiction on a blog for less than a year, and used special effects that, frankly, if he paid for, he should have gotten his money back, and suddenly every arm-chair physicist and aeronautical engineer with a YouTube account had to yell at everyone on the internet (or type with CAPS lock on) exclaiming that it was "So totally real you guys!"

Sometimes I wish the Earth would crash into the sun.

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Go

Another success story ...

... for sheople who get their codependent realities via the internet.

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Go

Re: Another success story ...

Well I, for one, am inspired. You might think of me as one of those sheeple but I get my inspiration from the internet. It is an interactive medium where I can browse my interests without being held prisoner by a remote control. What I got, when I was watching the video, is the equivalent of a magic show. And I didn't even have to pay the price of an admission.

No, the woman does not really hover but the guy did swallow the sword whole. Believe what you want to believe.

I am out buying small pieces of wood to build my own Ornithopter. What will you do?

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Pint

Is this news surprising?

I'm sorry. I had assumed that it was an *obvious* fake.

Do people understand (in general) how things work? Or is the modern world just one big magic show for the unwashed masses? Humans FAIL.

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Paris Hilton

Next , you'll be telling me ...

... we didn't actually land men on the moon!

No Easter Bunny?? You b*stards!

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Silver badge

Flight

I congratulate the guy for making an effective, fun and entertaining video. It may have fooled a couple of Guardian readers, but noone who studied a science beyond the age of 12. Any fule know humans can't power flight in that way for the same reason birds have proportionatly huge chest muscles. Look at a pidgeon - breast muscles bigger then your biceps.

Unless your breast muscles are the size of a car, you're not flying anywhere, not by flapping.

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Pick the right bird to mimic

I love how everyone's suddenly saying. Of course I knew it was a hoax. Where were you guys when the original article came out. Humans can't power flight like small birds which flap to fly, pidgeon, black bird, etc. But human powered flight is very possible.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRyyKQQtYqg

So the trick would be to emulate a bird like an albatross. That can't flap its wings very well either. Its a soaring bird that rides the air currents. I'm sure you could could up with a pair of wings to act like that.

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Re: Pick the right bird to mimic

Otherwise known as a hang-glider (or a paraglider, but doesn't look much like an albatross)

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I predict someone will make it true within two years

(Actually I think one year might be enough). First, background: in this article <a href="http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/80beats/2010/09/23/the-first-ever-flight-of-a-pedal-powered-wing-flapping-vehicle/">http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/80beats/2010/09/23/the-first-ever-flight-of-a-pedal-powered-wing-flapping-vehicle/</a> documents a successful human-powered ornithopter flight driven by a bicycle linkage. Human powered flight is using at best about 1.2 KW of power. So that is a reasonable minimum constraint. Let's use 3 KW as a reasonable minimum power-augmented system.

I did a back-of-the-envelope calculation. I looked this up: a 2400 watt-hour lithium battery (cost $3000) weighs about 40 lbs. I don't know if they are the right kind, but 750 watt servo motors weigh about 7 lbs. each, so four of them would be about 30 lbs. Assume a wing span area similar to that of an ultralight (but probably a different shape) I figure another four smaller servo motors, so add another 30 lbs. for those plus miscellaneous wiring, controls, sensors, etc. for a total weight of about 100 lbs. plus that of the rider.

I assume that the control systems are just an engineering and software question. There are some interesting physics challenges in the framework to prevent the guy whose arms are stretched out from having them bent backwards and ripped from their sockets. But the ability to build an ornithopter airframe that carries 300 lbs. of rider-plus-power is essentially proven.

So, bottom line - this is a reasonable high school or college physics or engineering class exercise. I hope to see successful prototypes within a year or two, and commercial versions in another year or two. The movie maker was smarter than he knew - he has single-handedly invented, or at least inspired, a new sport. Within a few years folks will have perfected these systems to the point where birdlike flare landings and wing folding systems will be available.

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Back of a fag packet calculations

I think you'll find your wing loadings are off by about an order of magnitude. My back of a fag packet calculations based on the weight and wingspan of a bustard (because it was the bird that appeared to have the highest wing loading in the first table I found) suggests that to lift 300ib you'll need a wing span of about 100ft...

Most people don't get just how light birds are.

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Angel

O'riley?

Can we expect an apology from the keyboard experts that shot Reg commentors down for being 'jealous' etc; when they dismissed it for being the complete ballcocks its turned out to be.

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Anonymous Coward

Robot bird

Having seen this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BkD4A0UvcrM

I didn't think it was completely unrealistic that a human could fly with some mechanical help.

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Human-powered flight

Did this thing even claim to be human-powered flight?

I thought the flapping was just stated to be a (strange but pleasing) control mechanism.

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Holmes

Never mind fancy thrust, weight or wingspan calculations, it was the Wildfire S part that did it for me :D

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