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French Rocket Man Finally Succeeded in Crossing the English Channel

On Sunday, French citizen Zapata set off on his ‘Flyboard’ from Sangatte on the northern coast of France for the 20-minute trip to St. Margaret’s Bay in Dover, on the south coast of England.

French Rocket Man Finally Succeeded in Crossing the English Channel

Franky Zapata, has spent several years in developing a jet-powered hoverboard craft and he is finally successful in his mission to cross the English Channel on Sunday. In his first attempt last month he failed to create the record, when he fell into the water while trying to refuel the craft.

On Sunday, French citizen Zapata set off on his ‘Flyboard’ from Sangatte on the northern coast of France for the 20-minute trip to St. Margaret’s Bay in Dover, on the south coast of England.

In his record-making adventure, Zapata was escorted by three helicopters, while he glided across the water in the early morning and landed in the beautiful bay, where dozens of tourists, onlookers and journalists were awaiting him, creating the record.

Five turbines, were fitted on the former jet-ski champion’s craft, that propelled him to keep the speed of 190 kilometres (118 miles) per hour, which are powered by a backpack full of kerosene, that can keep him on air for at least 10 minutes.

Zapata had planned to cross the 35-kilometre English Channel in 20 minutes, keeping an average speed of 140 kilometres per hour at the height of 15-20 metres above the water and he succeeded with his plans.

On July 25, Zapata tumbled into the middle of the busy shipping lane after failing to land on a boat which was waiting in the English waters to give him a fresh pack of kerosene.

40 years old, Zapata also confirmed that, “the trickiest part is really the refuelling. I didn't let up on the gas at the right moment. Aviation is the result of people who have had failures, and it's by getting back up that we move forward”.

Therefore, this time the refuelling boat was comparatively bigger and had a larger landing area, and French navy vessels in the area kept an eye on the record making rocket man in case of any kind of trouble. Also, the French maritime authorities gave Zapata’s team the permission to keep the refuelling boat on the French waters, which was earlier refused, citing safety concerns.

Zapata first came to spotlight on July 2014, during the Bastille Day military parade in Paris, where he and his craft soared noisily over a crowd of stunned onlookers, which also included the French President Emmanuel Macron.

His invention has also captured the attention of the French military, which also gave Zapata’s company, Z-AIR, a developmental grant of 1.3 million euro ($1.4 million).

Defence Minister of France, Florence Parly also said that his craft might eventually serve a variety of purposes, “for example as a flying logistical platform or, indeed, as an assault platform. I can’t help it, the first time I saw it fly I said, this is going to be my life's work”.

For the past three years, Zapata has been developing his hoverboard craft, despite losing two fingers during its first trial flight in his garage near Marseille. Franky Zapata, also holds the Guinness World Record for the farthest hoverboard flight, a 2.2-kilometre trip over the Mediterranean Sea in the year 2016.


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