Thursday, March 22, 2012

Jarno Smeets : Dreamer or marketeer?

Google translate version of Humo article by Belgian journalist who spoke with "Jarno Smeets" a few weeks ago.

It was a nice story: a young Dutchman wanted with homemade wings into the air. I found the video at the website of Wired: A young man with a big kite sail on the back, half a second in the sky.

At the very end I plug my headphones in and, surprise: guy who speaks Dutch. Interesting.
The plan of Jarno Smeets is with homemade wings into the air. His wings are of kite sail. The frame of its wings is made of carbon. Two electric motors provide the necessary strength to lift off to get. His LinkedIn profile: graduated from the University of Coventry as a mechanical engineer, previous job at an engineering company in Coventry, now working for Philips in Eindhoven as a technical engineer.

Dreamers are fun. Dreamers with a game plan and the technical know how to carry it out are even more fun. So I contact Jarno Smeets. His website is already a year or so. On his Twitter feed, he equally long contact with do-it-yourselfers and technology journalists from around the world. The technology he describes in a video diary looks implausible. On his website is an interview of himself with Bert Otten, a Dutch professor at the University of Groningen. Who says what you're trying is difficult but technically feasible. The Wired mathematician who finds release in the problem: theoretically feasible with modern technology.

So I drive on a bitter cold morning to The Hague. There, in a warehouse in the port of Den Haag, I see the kite sail hanging on the carbon framework. It sketches hang on the wall, and a picture of Jarno's grandfather, the inventor who already wanted in air with a home-built helicopter - albeit one that works on pedal power.

(Picture we took for the HUMO article)

We briefly talk about the non-believers on the Internet, who think that the movie was created with CGI, computer generated imagery. I find it quite plausible themselves look - all in all he is only fifty centimeters into the air. Jarno laughs off the allegations. Nonsense.

It will take hard work to really to get airborne, from Jarno explains in the interview. His canvas is a bit broken. And his six-month sabbatical will end soon: it's back to Philips.
The piece appears in HUMO a week or two later, which we leave in the middle or Jarno ever really will fly or not. Another month later I get the morning Email. "I did it", it says. "I have flown." I see the movie: it shows how Jarno takes a long lead and suddenly comes off the ground.

The news travels fast around: Wired, Business Insider, bring the news that Smeets is the world's first man who has successfully flown as a bird. Jarno I would call for a reaction, but I can not catch him. It gnaws me: last time for someone who has emphasized how much work it would be to really get to airborne, it flies remarkably smoothly. And high and far. His landing is perfect - there Tom Waes can still eat your heart out. Weird. Still stranger: YouTube does the title of this movie "part 14 or 14" (watch that video below). The previous movie "part 13 or 14 '. How could he know that last time the next movie would be his last?

Some specialists in CGI (computer generated imagery) view the movie with the successful flight. They see no trace of CGI, as many kritikasters on the Internet claim. But that does not say anything, they say it could also be that Jarno is hung from a crane, and that the wire rope of the crane is then erased in post production. The quality of the movie is bad anyway.

I call Philips and Pailton engineering, according to two companies where he has worked his LinkedIn profile. "Mr. Smeets works here as far as we can not figure out," is at Philips. At Pailton they are somewhat harder: "I ​​can confirm Jarno Smeets That has never worked for Pailton either in England or in Germany. The MD has been here for 15 years and does not know him and the technical director for just longer and does not know him. Also He has never worked for us under any contract or sub contract role. If he claims to have Worked here he needs to show some evidence Such As a pay slip, or a contract or letter as from us. "

We try Jarno Smeets several days to reach for a reaction, but in vain. Even the repeated attempts to contact the Dutch professional failed. Jarno's flight was a publicity stunt? Wii, or Red Bull or the maker of kite sailing? Or is it a hoax of a young man with a lot of time? No idea. There is even a minimal risk that the film is real. The website "" allows an expert to the word that says the flight of Jarno about him quite possible. But for now seems to be the final score: non-believers 1, dreamers 0.


(April 1st in Holland is written 1/4 not 4/1 like in the US)

Comments, questions or E-mails welcome: ajbrenninkmeijer (a)

No comments: