Working on the wings

So what are these wings all about, you might think?

In the latest videos you have seen me working on flightpins and the wingsurface for which I have sacrificed my Slingshot Fuel 17m2 kite for the membrane wingsurface. 


This  fabric weighs about 70 grams per square meter, so in total that will be around 1050 grams. It’s quite a challenge to work with this fabric. It’s strong, but at the same time very fragile. Especially because of the forces it has to cope with during the flights, it’s important to sew the seams carefully, and give the wingshape extra strength without making it too heavy. The top part of the kite will be folded around the ribs to create an aerodynamic shape. For extra lift and control I’ll stretch a piece of kitefabric between the legs, as some sort of tailwing.

Below: some pictures of the work so far on adjusting the kiteshape, creating mounting bags for the spars and reducing the weight.


How should this work? My calculations say that with a total weight of 100kg (me 80kg, wingpack 20kg), we would need about 2000W of continuous power. Well-trained arms can output about 5% of that, so we will rely mainly on the outrunner motors for driving the wings. Because human arms and pectoral muscles aren’t very strong, they will mainly function as guides, to control the flapping wing movements in a natural and intuitive way. These calculation are made for an ideal situation. Any inefficiencies aren’t taken into account, this will be found out by trial and error.

Not convinced yet? Check this video below. Before I started building my wings neuromechanics professor Bert Otten helped me out with some of the research. Specially for this project and all interested followers I filmed a conversation with him last summer. (Extra footage here)


17 thoughts on “Working on the wings

  1. Bravo! Bravo! Very well done! Well done. Very inspirational my Dutch counterpart. This video actually made you feel part of your team and lift off, especially the camera film looking down. Many congratulations

  2. great job . hope see more of this things , i am very delighted to see more

    thanks alot for your smart work

  3. Brought tears to my eye’s… A new era has begun…

    Wright brothers are rolling in their graves!

    In a few years we will fly to work and to the beach…

  4. Our class has been experimenting with aerodynamic concepts and kite models. Now we all want to fly! Awesome.

  5. ABSOLUTELY AMAZING and AWE Inspiring!!! :D

    You do realize that you have possibly changed pastimes for people don’t you? If you wanted to you could market this GLOBALLY in 5 years and every child and adventure enthusiast in the world would want one!!! This isn’t complicated and restrictive like a hang glider. You FLEW IN A PARK for over 60 seconds! The Wright Brothers’ first motorized flight was, what, 12 seconds?

    I’m completely inspired by achievement and I’m confident that you have changed the world for the better!


    A lifelong fan,

    Bob Carter

  6. Amazing, well done, i cant believe this is happening, please let me be your test pilot!
    Can i import and distribute your wings in Australia for you? Im serious
    Please let me know

  7. you are almost there and if you contact me, i belive i can help you in a very great way.

  8. You are doing a great work!
    I wish to fly like a bird too!
    And now I’m happy to find out, that I’m not the only one.
    Please, continue.

  9. Hi we are students at St. Paul’s Academy. We are in Mr.Frank’s science class. We think your videos are so cool. Great job and be safe!
    From, Susan,Emme and Sophie