Aircraft

Attempted hoverboard flight across the English Channel comes to a watery end

Attempted hoverboard flight ac...
Franky Zapata's attempted crossing of the English Channel on his Flyboard Air jet-powered hoverboard has been unsuccessful
Franky Zapata's attempted crossing of the English Channel on his Flyboard Air jet-powered hoverboard has been unsuccessful
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Franky Zapata takes off on the Flyboard Air for an attempted crossing of the English Channel
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Franky Zapata takes off on the Flyboard Air for an attempted crossing of the English Channel
Franky Zapata's attempted crossing of the English Channel on his Flyboard Air jet-powered hoverboard has been unsuccessful
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Franky Zapata's attempted crossing of the English Channel on his Flyboard Air jet-powered hoverboard has been unsuccessful

After wowing the crowds by flying over the Bastille Day celebrations in Paris earlier this month, Franky Zapata attempted to cross the English Channel today on his Flyboard Air jet-powered hoverboard. Sadly he didn't make it and dropped in the drink about half way across.

When the first video of Zapata's invention went viral, there was much chatter online and much of it cried "fake." But we traveled to Carry-le-Rouet on the Mediterranean coast in April 2016 to see see it ourselves and witnessed the French fly-boy completely obliterate the existing hoverboard flight record.

Since then, the Flyboard Air has made many public appearances, been the subject of an attempted buyout and caught the attention of the French president when a rifle-carrying Zapata circled above Bastille Day celebrations on July 14. At 9 am this morning, Zapata and the Flyboard Air took off from the coast of northern France in an attempt to cross La Manche.

Franky Zapata takes off on the Flyboard Air for an attempted crossing of the English Channel
Franky Zapata takes off on the Flyboard Air for an attempted crossing of the English Channel

According to the BBC, at about the halfway mark, Zapata failed to negotiate a refueling stop and fell into the water. The jaunt from Sangatte near Calais to St Margaret's Bay in Dover was estimated to take about 20 minutes, but since the flight time per fully-loaded kerosene backpack is only 10 minutes, a refueling boat was waiting at the midway point.

But it wasn't to be, as reports indicate that choppy conditions prevented stable refueling and the attempt came to a watery end. Zapata was not injured as he dropped into the Channel. It's not known at this point if another attempt will be made, but we'd put money on it.

Sources: Franky Zapata, the BBC, BFM TV

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