Man on Hoverboard Crosses English Channel

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August 4, 2019

A French inventor has crossed the English Channel on a jet-powered hoverboard.

Franky Zapata Hoverboard Air

Making his second attempt, Franky Zapata achieved the feat in 22 minutes, flying the 22 miles from Sangatte, near Calais, France, to the United Kingdom, landing in Saint Margaret's Bay, close to Dover. He flew at speeds reaching 106 miles per hour. He stopped once during the trip, landing on a platform in the Channel to refuel.

Powering the craft are five small jet engines, contained within a backpack. Zapata's refueling stop mid-flight required a change in backpack. A previous attempt at the cross-Channel flight in July stopped when Zapata missed the landing platform and fell into the sea. The new refueling platform was larger than the old one.

Zapata had set the world record for the farthest hoverboard flight in 2016, traveling just 1.4 miles. He also demonstrated his device to large crowds on July 14, 2019, during Bastille Day celebrations in France.

Franky Zapata

The inventor's latest craft is called the Flyboard Air. His first such device, dating to the 2011, was the water-jet-propelled Flyboard. He recently gained a 1.3 million euro grant from the national defense department to help develop his craft.

Zapata also said that he was working on a flying car.

Zapata's feat was reminiscent of the English Channel of Swiss aviator Yves Rossy, who styled himself "Jet Man" and jumped out of a plane at 8,200 feet over Calais and then used his jetpack to fly to Dover in 2008.

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