“Like flying a chariot, or a magic carpet”: Meet Louis Cardozo, the flying pianist

A flying piano, in the air
(Image credit: Youtube/Louis Cardozo)

Is it a bird? Is it a plane?

No, it’s a piano.

Youtube is stuffed to the gills with brilliantly pointless projects, but this one takes some beating. The concept was simple says Louis Cardozo: “I wanted to fly a grand piano for a music video”. 

In this eight-minute making-of vid he reveals the three years of hard work, engineering, experimenting and trial and error that went into achieving his crazy vision.

It began with the purchase of a baby grand from ebay. Then with a bit of help from his cousins he stripped out the insides to reduce weight, before adding a steel frame and a keyboard from an electric.

This was very much a family project. Cardozo’s ‘mad inventor’ uncle Gilo had a track record in this area, having flown “anything he can get his mitts on”, including a car. Cousins and children helped out in the workshop and it took an entire summer to get a first model out, Eagle 3000. 

This flew, briefly, but he reasoned that “the design was rough and bulky and it was still in the half-wheelbarrow, half-piano stage.” So the Cardozo clan went back to the drawing board.

They replaced the frame, making it even lighter and after a couple of test flights and waiting for the right amount of wind, the piano finally had lift off. 

As he explains in the video, Cardozo has done paragliding before, but this felt completely different. “With that (paragliding) you’re all buckled up and dangling uncomfortably. This felt closer to a childhood dream, like a flying chariot. Or a magic carpet.”

Cardozo had intended for the finished vid to be a one shot take, but in the end this was impossible and he was able to play in time to the recorded song, Fly, thanks to a hidden speaker in the contraption. It took eight separate flights to get all the footage required for one three minute promo.

Louis Cardozo - Fly (Official Video) - YouTube Louis Cardozo - Fly (Official Video) - YouTube
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The song itself is about triumph over adversity and comes off from a very personal place – the Bristol-based songwriter has struggled with auto-immune disease for years and claims that music is crucial therapy for him. Indeed upcoming single Witchdoctor is all about his experience with the disease. “(It’s) about that journey of going to different doctors and no one knowing what’s wrong with me and then turning to alternative medicine.”

And the next video? According to a recent interview he gave to the Bristol 24/7 website it’ll be “something on the water...”

Will Simpson
News and features writer

Will Simpson is a freelance music expert whose work has appeared in Classic Rock, Classic Pop, Guitarist and Total Guitar magazine. He is the author of 'Freedom Through Football: Inside Britain's Most Intrepid Sports Club' and his second book 'An American Cricket Odyssey' is due out in 2025