Franky Zapata failed to fly across the Channel on his Flyboard Air. The Frenchman fell with his hoverboard into the water when he tried to land halfway on a platform to refuel. Zapata is the inventor of the hoverboard with jet engines.
The 35-kilometer crossing on the Flyboard Air should be done in about twenty minutes, but The Guardian, among others, reports that this failed. The first part of the flight went according to plan. On Thursday morning, Zapata left France. To make the crossing, he had to refuel halfway through, but landing on the platform that lay in the sea before that failed due to movement caused by the waves. The Frenchman landed in the sea with his hoverboard, but was unharmed.
Zapata has been working on his Flyboard Air for a few years now. In 2016 he set a world record by covering more than two kilometers. The current version is equipped with five jet engines that each produce about 250 hp and the theoretical maximum speed is 200 km/h. So far, Zapata has demonstrated speeds of up to 140km/h.
In an interview with Le Parisien, Zapata said before his attempt that he estimated the chance of a successful crossing at about thirty percent. The inventor demonstrated the hoverboard earlier this month on the French national holiday, July 14, during a military parade. The French army is interested in using the hoverboard.