Some media have nicknamed Franky Zapata, the inventor of the flying board, as “the flying man”, because on his Flyboard Air, he managed to cross the English Channel, about 35 kilometers that divide France and England. This was his second attempt, to put you in context, French became popular during the Bastille commemoration day after flying over the center of Paris for a few minutes, although his attempt was not entirely successful, due to some technical problems related to the amount of fuel that prevented him from continuing.
For the above, you should know that Zapata left on his Flyboard from the region of Sangatte in Pas de Calais, northern France at 6:17 am (local time) on Sunday, at a speed of 177 km per hour, and at a height of more than 15 meters above the water. He was escorted by three helicopters and arrived in St Margaret’s Bay England 22 minutes later.
A man on a flying board is not science fiction, this is reality.
To cross the English Channel, the device overcame its first drawback, fuel, so it was able to sustain it in the air for 10 minutes, so in the middle of the trip it had to stop to refuel. The solution to overcome the drawback was to adapt a larger fuel canister.
According to Zapata, the winds were his biggest challenge. For if the air currents dropped drastically, the flying board could destabilize. But, in addition, he commented that it is indispensable that in order to “ride” the Flyboard, the subject must have great physical endurance.
Also, he added:
“The body resists the wind, and because the board is attached to my feet, the whole body has to resist the wind. I tried to enjoy it and not think about the pain.”
“The Flying Man,” invented the first water jet propulsion device in 2011. This pushed the pilot due to the air pressure escaping through the machine. Shortly after, the Flyboard Air arrived, which is powered by five turbojet air motors and allows for a more stable flight.
But that’s not all, during this time there has been interest from some advocacy sectors regarding the hoverboard. For example, defense contractor Implant Sciences wanted to acquire Zapata’s company, but the deal fell through. This may have been because France’s defense agency already awarded Zapata a €1.3 million grant in 2018 to advance the vehicle’s development.