March 21st, 2012


or fake?

This is why it’s probably fake.

More about the controversy here. And here’s a history of humankind’s attempts to build an ornithopter, which is what this purported invention would be called: a man-powered flying machine that is not a glider, but involves wing-flapping for propulsion.

9 Responses to “Real…”

  1. carl in atlanta Says:

    It’s one of those things one really wants to believe is true; I wonder why? The first thing I did was Google Leonardo da Vinci’s conceptual drawings (and why does it always feels good, somehow, to see those?) and I know I wasn’t the only one to do so.

    Let’s not talk about shadows and the disappearing/reappearing dots….

    Too good to check (too closely)?


  2. uncleFred Says:

    Whether a fake or not he claims to use motors to get the power to take off and fly. He says his arm motions are for control of the wings. So this is not “man powered” flight. If it is real, it’s just a very odd aircraft.

  3. T Says:

    Full disclosure, I’m not a physicist or engineer, but here is my take:

    In order for wings to propel flight, they must create more pressure underneath the wing than above it. If you carefully watch real birds one of two things (or both) happens. On the upstroke, the bird slightly folds its wings and/or angles its wings slightly upward so that the leading edge cuts into the air like a knife. This is what minimizes the wing pushing against the air and driving the bird down (less pressure pushing down with an upward stroke, more pressure pushing up with a downward stroke).

    No ornithopter that I’ve ever seen operate does this. The wings oscillate but when the wings move up to recover, they they don’t fold or angle and push against the SAME AMOUNT of air in the opposite direction than is required to get airborne pushing the contraption down. The vehicle can never leave the ground. Furthremore, to have forward motion, air must be pushed down and back to propel forward; pushing down alone results in nothing more that hovering.

    This ornithopter is no different (how often do we get to use that word?) It seems to be pushing down and up against equal amounts of air in either stroke; net upward thrust = 0. Ergo, fake video (nice thought, though).

  4. vanderleun Says:

    Nope. Not quite. Or at least not yet.

    “Editor’s note (March 21, 8:15 am PDT): The authenticity of this video has been questioned (Gizmodo, The Register), but Wired’s preliminary analysis by physicist Rhett Allain found nothing in the video that indicates it must be a fake. We are contacting other experts and will update this post when we have more information. Jarno Smeets has not yet responded to several interview requests.”

  5. vanderleun Says:

    See an analysis of the video in question

  6. Ymarsakar Says:

    People, there are adrenaline junkies that jump off mountain ranges in squirrel suits. What the heck do they need bird wings for?

  7. pst314 Says:

    No, human arm muscles do not have anywhere near the strength for powered flight.
    Flapping arms look fake too.

  8. Pat D Says:

    Fake, unless we see independent verification. Crickets…

  9. Philip Ngai Says:

    The liar has confessed to his lie.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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