Location scouting

This weekend the weather was perfect! Dry but cool, slightly above freezing temperature, no wind, sunshine and crisp grass.

I feel ready for the first test with the wings! So I went out to check up on my three favorite locations in The Hague to see what possibilities I have to do the first trial runs. Unfortunately I forgot my camera, but thank god there is Google Earth.

Beach (Strand bij Duindorp)
Pros: unlimited space, soft fuzzy stuff to fall in, best with North or South wind, easy transport (parkinglot)
Cons: Too strong wind for my wings most of the day (would have to go realy early), sand might mess up the mechanical propulsion system.

Park Westbroek
Pros: grass, enough space for a little hop in the air, easy transport, best with North-North-West or South-South-East wind
Cons: water all around, trees, birds (how ironic that sounds!), dogpoo

Malieveld
Pros: dry grass, nice grip for shoes, best with South-West wind, easy transport
Cons: turbulence because of surrounding trees and forest on North East side, dogpoo, traffic (in case I succeed to take off

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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. 

vleugeltekening

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 Continue reading

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Aerodynamic ribs & wingsurface

To keep you updated, here are my latest videos on the construction of the wing. Half december things have been progressing steadily. Floor did a nice job filming that, so here the result.

In the first video you see how I had the aerdynamic ribs cut at a technical workplace. The ribs give the wing its shape. We have succesfully attached them to the flightpins. The second video gives you a nice look at the completions of the wing. The work is not quite done yet, the mechanics of the wing needs to be calibrated, balanced and finetuned.

But isn’t it just great the wings have come off the drawing table and now hang in my workplace? I am tired but so excited!

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Sharing my flying dream

Between the roasted lamb and tiramisu dessert on Christmas day something wonderful happened. TechCrunch supported my project by sharing the news on my human birdwings.

Here’s a short overview. Thanks to everybody for sharing! 

“If you could have one superpower, what would it be? Mind control would be my answer (I hope to be an evil genius when I grow up). But it seems the most popular answer to that question is the ability to fly. Jarnos Smeets, a mechanical engineer from the Netherlands, is working really hard to make that a reality.”TechCrunch (24th dec)


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Moving my birdwings

Some time ago I connected the acceleration sensors of the HTC and Wii remote (and check this blogpost too for explanation). The next step was to send this acceleration data to my electronic speed controllers and outrunner motors. Floor and me went testing the system yesterday, watch the result below. I’m very proud of this.

So check out the photogallery and the video below. Also decided to attach an earlier sketch of the system, although it’s kind of a wild sketch, I think this explains what I did and how it works.

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Birdwings or Batwings?

While the rain won’t stop coming in ‘winter Holland’, I enjoyed myself looking at my modern day birdman heroes. Such as Batman!

Here’s an interesting short bit of text on the evolution of his cape.  I thought it was really cool to see how the imagination and visualisation of Batman’s wings made an interesting development. In the early days (comics)  you can see the DaVinci concept coming through clearly. But now, with filmdirector Christopher Nolan who re-designed Batman into a modern-day hi-tech genius, the wings become a memory cloth. Quite interesting.

And comes to think of it, am I making birdwings or do they resemble batwings more, like the early day Batman?

Here the early day Batman (1987) as in the original comics.

 

The Batglider makes Batman appear to have wings. It functions like a traditional hand glider, but built to resemble the wingspan of a bat. Batman hides these on select buildings throughout the city.

source: http://batman.wikia.com/wiki/Batglider

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