Hoverboard inventor's attempt to fly across English Channel fails at halfway point

midian182

Posts: 6,172   +51
Staff member

Earlier this week, it was reported that Zapata hoped to make the journey from Sangatte, which is near Calais in Northern France, to St Margaret's Bay in Dover, UK, flying 22 miles across the English channel.

Zapata was aiming to complete his run in 20 minutes, keeping an average speed of 87 mph while traveling between 50 feet to 65 feet above the water. The Flyboard Air he used is powered by five mini turbo engines, which can produce around 250 horsepower each, giving it a top speed of about 118 mph.

Due to the length of the crossing, Zapata needed to make a single stop to refuel at the halfway point. Ten minutes after taking off, he went to land on a refueling vessel to replace his backpack, which carried 42 liters of kerosene. Waves caused a slight movement of the platform, causing him to miss by “a few centimeters” and plunge into the water. Zapata was wearing a life jacket and didn’t suffer any injuries.

“We practiced this maneuver dozens of times in heavier seas, with platforms that moved more, without any problems,” said a member of his team.

Landing on a metal structure measuring just one square meter was always going to be difficult, and Zapata had given himself only a 50 percent chance of successfully making the crossing. The inventor blamed French Maritime officials for the failed attempt; they had refused to let him refuel the hoverboard in the air during the journey, forcing him to use the vessel instead.

While Zapata has previously been in trouble with France's Civil Aviation Authority for flying what it says is technically an aircraft too low over populated areas, the country’s Ministry of Defense gave him a 1.4 million Euro ($1.56 million) grant in December as it believes the Flyboard Air has military applications.

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stewi0001

Posts: 2,455   +1,963
TechSpot Elite
"Ministry of Defense gave him a 1.4 million Euro ($1.56 million) grant in December as it believes the Flyboard Air has military applications."

Yes, to make flying targets :p
 
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hahahanoobs

Posts: 3,080   +1,232
This is impressive! I just want to know why the landing pad was only 1 meter sq., and why he blamed maritime officials if he'd made the landing before in rougher conditions.
 
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Capaill

Posts: 1,200   +738
"they had refused to let him refuel the hoverboard in the air during the journey"
This makes a lot more sense than landing, if it's possible to refuel while the engines are still running. Silly Frenchies, giving him a million euro and then forcing the flight to fail. Maybe he should have asked the English officials if he could refuel on their side.
 

netman

Posts: 576   +205
"Ministry of Defense gave him a 1.4 million Euro ($1.56 million) grant in December as it believes the Flyboard Air has military applications."

Yes, to make flying targets :p
You don't fly it during daylight and you don't have to fly it with a person. Without the operator, it is basically a drone that can be remotely controlled...You can also make a fake UFO out of it and confuse the public....
 

lazer

Posts: 360   +106
Can't wait until it is available in the stores. I gotta get one and fly over my neighbor's homes to the store and to work.