French hoverboard inventor successfully crosses the Channel for the first time

Sky News – Aug 4, 2019

Franky Zapata on his hoverboard. Click to enlarge

A French inventor has successfully crossed the Channel on his jet-powered hoverboard for the first time.

Franky Zapata took off from Sangatte in northern France at 7.15am BST on Sunday, and landed at St Margaret’s Bay in Dover around 25 minutes later.

It was the second attempt at the 21-mile crossing for the inventor, who failed his first effort back in July after encountering problems at a refuelling station.

But after making some necessary changes to his refuelling arrangements, the 40-year-old former jet ski champion was able to make his second attempt a success.

Franky Zapata nears the White Cliffs of Dover. Click to enlarge

Speaking to Sky News, Mr Zapata’s wife Krysten said her husband was “very happy” at the result, but noted that he was also “very tired” after working long hours to achieve his goal.

She added: “Everything is perfect…This is his day.”

During the journey, Mr Zapata was carrying enough kerosene in his backpack to fuel the hoverboard for about 10 minutes in the air, but needed to strap on a new supply for the second leg of his journey.

He steered his Flyboard aircraft, which flies at up to 87mph, by leaning forwards or backwards, and controlled thrust with a throttle connected to his 1,500 horsepower board.

The invention won global acclaim when Mr Zapata flew over France’s Bastille Day celebrations in Paris on 14 July, with French President Emmanuel Macron later tweeting a video of his exploits.

Mr Zapata was given a grant of more than £1m from the French government to develop the technology behind his hoverboard.

His failed attempt was on the 110th anniversary of Louis Bleriot’s 1909 Channel crossing – the first time anyone had crossed the Channel in a “heavier-than-air” aircraft.


2 responses to “French hoverboard inventor successfully crosses the Channel for the first time”

  1. Wow! What an achievement – I’m so pleased for him.

  2. “Back to the Future” ???