A Dutchman who admitted a viral video of himself flying with a homemade wing suit was a hoax has now defended his stunt.
Filmmaker and animator Floris Kaayk, also known as the intrepid aviator Jarno Smeets, says on his blog the stunt was “a new way of online storytelling” and was intended “to share a personal, yet universal dream about flying like a bird.”
Kaayk created a stir across the Internet last week after YouTube footage of him flying over a park in the Hague went viral worldwide, with more than six million people having watched Kaayk fly through the air with enormous, kite-like wings.
Several media outlets were successfully duped, running news of Kaayk’s claim to fame. But it was soon made apparent that Kaayk’s wings were power-assisted, not by a motor, but with a mobile phone and Nintendo Wii controller, and that Kaayk was in fact not a certified engineer, as his alter ego Jarno Smeets’ LinkedIn profile suggested.
Kaayk’s project, entitled Human Birdwings, could very well be the biggest hoax so far. Over the course of six months, Kaayk and his team posted online videos documenting how he developed and built a set of bird wings. The climax of the fourteen films is the last episode, in which he appears to fly for real.
“Most people bought it, but after the thirteenth movie there were doubts in the minds of most viewers,” Kaayk admits.
“I wasn’t even sure if we should continue after the film before the penultimate one,” Kaayk says. The credibility was at stake, but still Kaayk and his team decided to push towards the climax. “But the finale couldn’t have been better.”
Before Kaayk deleted Jarno Smeets’ Facebook page, he responded to one last message in line with his own beliefs: “You should be glad this was a fake, because now you at least can keep dreaming.”