Inventor Franky Zapata's Mission to Fly over the Channel on Flyboard Fails

This week, the French inventor attempted to cross the English Channel on his jet-powered hoverboard.
Fabienne Lang
Franky Zapata on his Flyboard AirFlyboard Air/Zapata

To coincide with the 110th anniversary of the first flight across the English Channel by French aviator, Louis Bleriot, fellow Frenchman and inventor, Franky Zapata, similarly attempted to cross the Channel in the air - on his homemade flyboard on Thursday

Unfortunately, Zapata's attempt failed midway. He had to stop on his refueling boat and fell into the water.


The flight plan

Taking off from Sangatte, a French coastal town, Zapata planned to make the 36 km (or 22.4 miles) crossing of the Channel on his hovercraft, which resembles a high-tech flying skateboard. 

Inventor Franky Zapata's Mission to Fly over the Channel on Flyboard Fails
Franky Zapata. Source: Franky Zapata/Twitter

The hope was to make the crossing in 20 short minutes, with a refueling stop in the middle. 

According to a spokeswoman, Anna Venekas, as Zapata came down for his refueling stop he encountered a "problem." All Venekas mentioned to the Associated Press was that "the flight is canceled," and that Zapata "is doing fine."

Zapata had impressed the crowds, including the French President Emmanuel Macron, as well as global leaders, on Bastille Day, July 14th, as he flew over the parades showcasing the prowess of his flight invention.

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There was mention of future military usage, which was further demonstrated by him holding a fake rifle as he drifted over the French celebrations. 

However, undertaking a crossing of the Channel, with its unpredictable wind patterns and ship-filled waters is a far tougher challenge. One that did not work out this time for the 40-year old inventor. 

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