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4 Aug, 2019 10:38

‘Pure pleasure’: Frenchman successfully flies across English Channel on hoverboard (VIDEO)

‘Pure pleasure’: Frenchman successfully flies across English Channel on hoverboard (VIDEO)

A week after his failed first attempt, French inventor Franky Zapata has successfully crossed the English Channel on a jet-powered hoverboard.

On Sunday morning, Zapata, 40, flew for 20 minutes along 35.4 kilometers (22 miles) from the French town of Sangatte, to Saint Margaret’s Bay, near Dover, with one stop halfway to refuel. 

Powered by kerosene and five turbines, the board propels the former jet-ski champion at speeds of up to 118 mph (190km/h) at an altitude of between 15 and 20 meters.

Cheering friends and family were waiting for Zapata, who shed tears of joy following the landing. The inventor told waiting media that “the last five, six kilometres were pure pleasure, to see the [British] coast approaching like this.”

Whether this is a historic event or not, I’m not the one to decide that, time will tell,” he said, adding that he created the machine just three years ago. “And now we’ve crossed the Channel, it’s crazy.”

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Zapata’s first attempt on July 25 failed halfway through when waves caused him to miss the landing platform on a boat where he was supposed to refuel. To avoid the same mistake from happening again, the team built a bigger platform on a bigger boat. 

Zapata invented the first functional hoverboard and was given a €1.3 million ($1.47 million) grant by the French military in 2018 to develop an aeronautical micro-jet engine that can be used by the military. The Frenchman became known as the “flying soldier” after he soared above crowds during a military parade for Bastille Day celebrations on July 14.