Zapata Makes Channel Crossing on Flyboard Air

The inventor has worked since 2016 on his proprietary hoverboard.

Franky Zapata flyboard
Franky Zapata demonstrates the Flyboard Air in France in June 2019.Zapata

Inventor and sportsman Franky Zapata has successfully crossed the English Channel on his Flyboard Air, a proprietary hoverboard intended for personal transportation. Since 2016, Zapata has been developing the hoverboard with the goal of creating a new mode of travel that is more flexible and easier to learn than piloting traditional aircraft.

Zapata launched this attempt on August 4, 2019, from Sangatte, near Calais on the northern French coast. He landed near Dover, England, about 20 minutes later, covering the 22-mile distance across the water with one refueling stop at the midpoint. He reached a speed of 110 mph, and covered the total distance at what would be an average speed of more than 65 mph.

Zapata made one previous attempt at the crossing, on July 25, failing only when he fell into the water at the refueling platform. Zapata claims that the Flyboard Air can approach speeds of 93 mph (150km/hr) and reach an altitude of roughly 9,842 feet (3,000 meters) with a load capacity of 225 pounds.