Franky Zapata's Flyboard Air, a board powered by four turbo jet engines that allows a rider to fly through the air untethered with a computer making it stable, was unveiled in April 2016.

By Ian Horswill

Posted on August 5, 2019

French inventor Franky Zapata has successfully navigated the 22 miles (35km) over the English Channel in his jet-powered hoverboard, which reaches speeds of up to 106 miles per hour (170km).

It was the second attempt by the 40-year-old, after his unsuccessful effort at the end of last month. He completed the journey in 22 minutes on Sunday morning (local time), reported AP News.

“I’m feeling happy … It’s just an amazing moment in my life,” he said in English following his touchdown in the UK. “The last 10% (of the flight) was easier … because I had the time to look at the cliffs.”

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Zapata, founder of Zapata Racing, set the record for such a trip as no-one use has used a jet-propelled hoverboard before. It was the furthest distance that Zapata had flown. He set off from Sangatte in France’s Pas-de-Calais region and landed in St. Margaret’s Bay, Dover, in England’s southeast. He stopped once to refuel from a boat.

Zapata came to prominence when he whizzed above European leaders in Paris, France, at Bastille Day celebrations on his jet-propelled invention, Flyboard Air, carrying a gun.

He unveiled Flyboard Air, a board powered by four turbo jet engines that allows a rider to fly through the air untethered, using a computer to keep it stable, in April 2016. It was then that he set a world record for the farthest hoverboard flight after he flew the Flyboard Air along the south coast of France for 2,252 metres (about 1.4 miles).

“We made a machine three years ago,” he said after landing at St. Margaret’s Bay “and now, we’ve crossed the Channel, it’s crazy.”

Flyboard Air inventor Franky Zapata with his wife Krystal. Facebook / Krystal Zapata

Zapata is not alone in developing jet-powered personal transportation. English inventor Richard Browning developed a jet suit that allows the wearer to fly with six turbo-engines strapped to their arms, which he has demonstrated.

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