Too Good To Be True Was!

A few days ago I wrote about the tech story I nearly produced for FoxCT about Jarno Smeets and his amazing flying wing. It would have been a very cool story, but something didn’t smell right. It was a hoax!

Skeptical comments earlier turned to an admission today.

Smeets, whose real name is Floris Kaayk, has come clean on Dutch television, admitting that his videos and accompanying blog were nothing more than what he calls “online storytelling.” His flying video attracted more than 3 million views on YouTube.

“I’m actually a filmmaker and animator. I am now eight months working on an experiment about online media,” Kaayk told the press, referring to the fact that he began documenting the fake flying machine project on his blog last summer. – MSNBC.com

I came very close to airing that story. I’m glad I had second thoughts. Very glad.

I wish it had been real. It looked so cool.

7 Responses to “Too Good To Be True Was!”

  1. Simon W says:

    In principle you could become airborne by moving your hands down with palms facing the ground and upwards with palms vertical. That way there would be a net displacement of air downwards and Newton’s third law would give you lift, but it would be hopelessly inefficient compared with an aerofoil, and your hands are the wrong shape anyway. Say the area of both palms minus the area of both hands side-on is 100 cm^2= 0.01m^2. You weigh 80kg = 800N and you’re getting net lift half the time (the half cycle when your hands are moving downwards. Air density is 1.3 kg/m^3 at sea level. Then the minimum velocity of your hands to achieve lift-off is SQR (1600/0.012)=365m/sec, which is slightly more than the speed of sound. I have way too much spare time…….

  2. Lou Lange says:

    Your “spider sense” tingled about this “story”. Good instincts as always, Geoff!

  3. KE4GNK says:

    Simon, you must be another engineer…makes perfect sense to me…

    I expected the resultant flying velocity in Furlongs per Fortnight, or some other useful unit.

    Local Speed Limit: 1.8026175 EE+12 Furlongs/Fortnight
    –as posted on my cube wall.

  4. Simon W says:

    Im just imagining having to work out Energy/Mass ratings using a universal constant of 1.8026175 EE+12 furlongs per fortnight or E=MFpF1.8E12(squared) doesn’t have the same T-Shirt appeal :D

  5. KE4GNK says:

    True, but the real gag is the entire page of work by a retiring engineer to derive that number…which is also posted in my cube…

    Hey, I’d put it on a tee shirt…

  6. Bob says:

    Interesting that you should use that photo from the video. When I first watched it the movement in that scene looked very familiar, I just couldn’t place it. Later reading a post by some CGI guys they mentioned it. Remember the flying monkeys in the Wizard of Oz?

    http://gizmodo.com/5895235/cgi-experts-say-flying-bird-man-is-fake

  7. Gary says:

    “…an experiment in online media”. Oh please, haven’t enough of these “experiments” been performed already? He intentionally mislead people because he thought it’d be fun to do, not to prove a scientific point. That’s like saying a phishing scam is an “experiment in social engineering”.

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