On July 14th, former jet-skiing champion and current inventor and entrepreneur Franky Zapata took to the skies on the Flyboard Air above the Champs-Elysees in Paris, France during the annual Bastille Day parade.
— Le 20Heures France2 (@20hFrance2) July 14, 2019
French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly told France Inter radio ahead of the parade that the flyboard “can allow tests for different kinds of uses, for example as a flying logistical platform or, indeed, as an assault platform.”
He carried a rifle in a sign of the possible military uses of his device. As part of his display, he flew to and fro before stopping gracefully in midair.
His audience included French President Emmanuel Macron as well as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Theresa May.
Zapata, who first developed his device flying above water, says that the flyboard has the power to take off and reach speeds up to 190 kilometres an hour (118 mph) and run for 10 minutes. It features “quick release boots” that allow the pilot to “quickly let go of the Flyboard Air in case of an emergency water landing.”
He now aims to cross the English Channel which, for the first time with such a flying device. The trip will require a refueling in mid-flight.
Zapata aims to make the crossing on July 25th, 110 years to the day after pioneering aviator Louis Bleriot made the first airplane flight across the Channel.
The Bastille Day parade is an annual parade that involves various personnel and equipment from the French Armed Forces.
Zapata had demonstrated the Flyboard earlier. In 2016, he set a Guinness World Record for the farthest continuous flight on a hoverboard, covering 2,252 metres — ten times the distance set by the last record holder.
The Flyboard Air’s specification and further info can be seen on Zapata’s website:
“Inventors have been chasing the dream of personal flight for decades, but no one else has achieved it in the way that Zapata has. Zapata’s unique and innovative approach comes from its experience in hydroflight, its use of turbine engines over conventional electric propellers and the use of intuitive flight controls designed around the human”
Franky Zapata trained for his flight above the Champs-Elysees a few days earlier:
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