Photo: ZAPATA RACING/Facebook

French Inventor Crossed the English Channel on a Jet-Powered Hoverboard in Just 20 Minutes

News Airports + Flying
by Eben Diskin Aug 5, 2019

It might not sound impressive to hear that someone just flew across the English Channel — until you learn that they did it on a jet-powered hoverboard.

French inventor Franky Zapata crossed the English Channel on a flyboard, his own invention, on Sunday. He zoomed from Sangatte near Calais, France, to Saint Margaret’s Bay near Dover, England, in just 22 minutes, 50 to 65 feet above the water. The invention was powered by a kerosene-filled backpack and reached speeds of up to 110 mph.

Sunday’s feat was Zapata’s second attempt to cross the body of water. His first attempt took place on July 25 of this year, but failed after complications while refueling mid-flight.

If Zapata’s flyboard looks familiar, it’s because it stole the show during Paris’ annual Bastille Day parade last month. The board isn’t as out of place in a military parade as you might think — the French military has given Zapata’s company a $1.4 million grant, with the hopes of adapting the technology for use as a logistical or assault platform.

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