Thursday, July 9, 2020 | ePaper

French 'Flying Man' crosses Channel on jet-powered hoverboard

  • Print


Reuters, Sangatte :
French inventor Franky Zapata on Sunday succeeded in crossing the English Channel on a jet-powered hoverboard he designed, zooming over the Strait of Dover in just over 20 minutes.
After a previous bid in July that ended with him falling into the sea, Zapata took off from Sangatte, just outside Calais in France at about 0617 GMT, on a little platform powered by five small jet engines and carrying kerosene in a backpack.
Flanked by three helicopters, he reached Britain after a stop on a boat halfway through the 35-km crossing to refuel, waving to onlookers before landing safely in Saint Margaret's Bay, close to Dover on Britain's southern coast.
"For the last five to six kilometers I just really enjoyed it," Zapata told reporters on arrival. "Whether this is a historic event or not, I'm not the one to decide that, time will tell." "We made a machine three years ago...and now we've crossed the Channel, it's crazy," he said, before breaking into tears.
Dozens of people came to cheer on Zapata at take-off and a few residents and tourists gathered to watch the Frenchman land.
"I really didn't think he would make it but I was hoping," resident Helen Reed said in Saint Margaret's Bay. "Just to see him in the distance with my little binoculars, it was just amazing."
Zapata, who wowed crowds during France's Bastille Day celebrations on July 14 by soaring over a military parade in Paris on the device, said on arrival that the hoverboard had reached speeds of 160 to 170 km per hour during the crossing.
The inventor had received a 1.3 million euro grant from the French army in late 2018 to help finance the development of the hoverboard.
Britain's Royal Navy has also shown interest in similar inventions, and said on July 30 it had carried out a successful test over water with "rocket man" Richard Browning, who hovered between vessels wearing a jet-powered body suit.
Zapata's biggest challenge was refueling with another backpack, which required landing on a platform mounted on a boat.
On his first attempt, he was knocked off balance in the process and fell, and he used a bigger boat and platform this time.

More News For this Category

Death toll in Ethiopia violence over singer's killing hits 239

Death toll in Ethiopia violence over singer's killing hits 239

Al Jazeera News :The death toll from demonstrations and ethnic violence that erupted in Ethiopia last week following the murder of a popular singer from the Oromo ethnic group

India arrests South Korean CEO, 11 others for gas leak at LG Polymers

Reuters :Indian police have arrested 12 LG Polymers officials, including its South Korean chief executive, an officer said on Wednesday, two months after a gas leak at the company's

Russia and China veto UN extension of cross-border aid to Syria

Russia and China veto UN extension of cross-border aid to Syria

Al Jazeera News :Russia and China have vetoed a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution to extend aid deliveries from Turkey to Syria, which the UN says is crucial

Myanmar poet accused of staging protest over internet blackout

Myanmar poet accused of staging protest over internet blackout

Reuters :Maung Saung Kha, a prominent Myanmar poet and activist, appeared in court on Tuesday to face accusations that he helped stage an unlawful protest demanding an end to internet

China raises emergency level as heavy rain triggers floods

Reuters, Shanghai :China raised its national emergency response level on Tuesday as days of torrential rain triggered flood warnings across the country, killing more than 100 people and disrupting the

Taliban violence threatening peace process: Ghani

Taliban violence threatening peace process: Ghani

AFP, Kabul :Afghan President Ashraf Ghani warned on Monday that Taliban violence is threatening the country's peace process, as he briefed the international community on Kabul's preparations for peace talks

Vietnam jails Facebook user for eight years over 'anti-state' posts

Reuters :A court in Vietnam on Tuesday sentenced a man to eight years in prison after finding him guilty of uploading anti-state posts on his Facebook account, the security ministry

Israel targets Hamas post in new air raids on Gaza Strip

Israel targets Hamas post in new air raids on Gaza Strip

Al Jazeera News :Israel has said it carried out fresh air raids on the Gaza Strip in response to three alleged rockets fired from the besieged Palestinian enclave. No

Iran negotiating strategic accord with China

AFP, Tehran : Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Sunday that Iran has been negotiating a 25-year accord with China whose terms will be announced once a deal is

Anti-racism groups in Paris call out coloniser street names

Anti-racism groups in Paris call out coloniser street names

AP, Paris :Paris police blocked anti-racism groups from leading a de-colonial tour of Paris on Sunday to call attention to monuments and streets honouring historical figures tied to the