We're heartbroken to report that the viral video of a Dutch inventor flying through the sky on a pair of handmade wings is a complete fake. We are not surprised, however. The
Following ample speculation over the veracity of the video, the man behind the project admitted that the whole thing was a hoax on the Dutch TV show De Wereld Draait Door on Thursday. The supposed inventor identified himself as Jarno Smeets, and he called his project "Human Birdwings," saying on the project's website that his goal in building the wing apparatus was simply "To fly with it! Something Leonardo DaVinci, my grandfather and I dreamed of for a long time." The video of Smeets' flight hit YouTube on Sunday and took off following a link from Glenn Beck's site The Blaze (based on YouTube's own analytics graph). One link led to another (including one from The Atlantic Wire) and by Thursday afternoon, the video was approaching 3 million views.
We now know that this is not true. Smeets is actually Floris Kaayk, a CGI whiz with an MFA looking to break into film. What's the best way to jumpstart a career in filmmaking these days? Make a viral YouTube video, of course. And we're not sure what could be more primed for virality than a video in which you accomplish a task that men have literally been attempting for millennia: flying.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.