Monday, 11 November, 2019

French 'flying man' Zapata successfully crosses the English channel on hoverboard

Franky Zapata with his wife Krystel in Sangatte on Saturday Flyboarding Frenchman crosses Channel
Patty Aguilar | 04 August, 2019, 18:00

French inventor Franky Zapata has succeeded in crossing the English Channel on a jet-powered hoverboard he designed, having abandoned a previous bid after failing to land on a refuelling platform and falling into the sea.

Zapata departed from the French town of Sangatte shortly after 08:15 CEST and reached Saint Margaret's Bay, near Dover, some 20 minutes later after travelling about 36 kilometres and stopping halfway to refuel.

On his first attempt to make the crossing on July 25, Zapata was knocked off balance in the process and fell.

The invention, powered by a kerosene-filled backpack, made the 22-mile (35.4-km) journey in 22 minutes.

Mr Zapata told crowds in Dover that he had reached speeds of up to 170km/h (106mph) during the flight. This time the refuelling boat will be bigger and have a larger landing area, and French navy vessels in the area will again be keeping an eye out in case of trouble.

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His team said he would return to Sangatte - by boat this time - for a press conference at the city hall.

Zapata's team had been racing to fix the hoverboard after it was damaged from falling in the Channel waters 10 days ago. He said everyone who worked on the team was very motivated.

Mr Zapata received widespread attention during the annual Bastille Day parade in Paris last month, when he took part in a military display on his futuristic flyboard.

The inventor had received a 1.3 million euro grant from the French army in late 2018 to help finance the development of the hoverboard.

That is something that will require him to figure out how to carry a parachute, guidance equipment and possibly an oxygen tank. "We want to give everybody the ability to go flying whenever they want", he told BFM.

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