Earlier this month the creator of the Flyboard Air, Franky Zapata, ambitiously aimed to cross the English Channel on his hoverboard-esque invention. The Frenchman departed from Sangatte in France this morning, as he planned to reach St Margaret’s Bay in the UK.
Unfortunately Zapata was unsuccessful in his attempt, with BBC reporting that he crashed while trying to land on one of the refuelling stations at sea. Luckily he did not suffer any injuries as a result of the crash, with a successful completion of the journey potentially taking him 20 minutes to do.
Zapata was aware of the difficult that refuelling would prove, as he would need to do within 60 seconds while trying to manoeuvre and pilot the Flyboard Air system, which is clearly far more difficult than many may have anticipated.
The inventor adds that the attempt had a 30 percent chance of being pulled off, with Zapata noting that it took him 50 to 100 hours to get comfortable simply standing up on the system. A description of the system makes it easy to understand why, with each of five mini turbo engines yielding 186kW of power and the unit capable of reaching a top speed of 189km/h.
Add to that the weather conditions he needs to deal with while flying and a crossing of the Channel at 35km is even more daunting.
When, or indeed if, Zapata plans to make another crossing remains to be seen, as he may wish to make refinements to the system following his recent failure. Nevertheless there is plenty of interest in the Flyboard Air, with the French government in particular wanting to find out the applications of such a device in a support or even assault role in the army.
For now though, the Flyboard Air is a headline grabber.
You can see Zapata start his journey from Sangatte in the Sky News Twitter video below, and regardless of his failure, it is still impressive.
Franky Zapata takes off in his bid to cross from France to England on his flyboard. The Frenchman’s attempt failed a short time later when he missed a landing platform to refuel.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) July 25, 2019