Quantcast
Connect with us

French inventor to hover across English Channel on ‘flyboard’

Published

on

A French inventor aims to soar across the English Channel this week on a jet-powered “flyboard”, despite authorities warning the stunt is a danger to shipping.

Former jet-skiing champion Franky Zapata has pledged to go ahead on Thursday on his device, which can reach speeds up to 190 kilometres an hour (118 mph).

ADVERTISEMENT

It will come 10 days days after the entrepreneur wowed crowds when he flew above the Champs-Elysees boulevard in Paris in front of President Emmanuel Macron for the annual July 14 military parade.

But authorities are divided over the daredevil venture, which will mark 110 years to the day since Frenchmen Louis Bleriot made the first aeroplane flight across the Channel.

While the civil aviation authority (DGAC) has approved the crossing from a beach near Calais to Dover in southern England — a distance of around 50 kilometres (30 miles) — local maritime authorities have urged against it on safety grounds.

“We wrote to him to express our disapproval of the project,” the local maritime authority in northern France told AFP last week.

ADVERTISEMENT

“It’s an extremely dangerous area. We weren’t sure if he’d be able to fly over container ships. The Calais strait sees a quarter of the world’s traffic, including very large boats”.

– ‘Total nonsense’ –

Zapata has been asked to alert maritime safety officers when he begins the crossing “so they can track him and respond to any problems at sea”.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Marseille-born engineer, who carries the kerosene for the flyboard in a rucksack on his back, said the concerns were “total nonsense”.

“They let me fly 30 metres (100 feet) away from the President but now they’re talking about the risk of hitting a boat?” he told French TV channel BFM on Friday.

“Even the maritime safety authority agreed (that)… there are a dozen slots during the day when there are no boats.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Zapata launched his “Flyboard Air” in 2016, the latest addition to his eponymous brand, which includes a water-propelled hoverboard and a flying jet-ski priced at 4,500 euros ($5,000).

The device is powered by five small jet engines and controlled by a handheld throttle, which Zapata activates to take off after strapping himself into a pair of boots attached to the board.

Features include “auto-hover mode” and “quick release boots” in case of an emergency landing on water, according to Zapata’s website.

ADVERTISEMENT

– Military potential –

The French government has praised the “Made In France” invention and even hinted at its military potential.

President Emmanuel Macron posted a video of Zapata’s stunt at the July 14 parade, with the caption, “Proud of our army, modern and innovative”.

ADVERTISEMENT

French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly told France Inter radio that the “Flyboard” “can allow tests for different kinds of uses, for example as a flying logistical platform or, indeed, as an assault platform.”

Zapata said the device can run autonomously for around 10 minutes, and that he would need to make a refuelling stop on a boat in English waters.

“We were originally planning to refuel mid-flight but we had to change all that about ten days ago,” he told French TV channel BFM on Friday, explaining that French authorities had denied him permission to re-fuel in French waters.

ADVERTISEMENT

A second boat will be waiting nearer the English coast “in case a second refuel is needed”, said Anna Venekas, a spokeswoman for Zapata.

The English Channel, a 34-kilometre (21-mile) stretch of water between France and Britain, has attracted daredevils before.

In 2010, America’s Jonathan Trappe crossed the Channel dangling from a bunch of helium balloons.

ADVERTISEMENT

And in 2003, Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner — who went on to jump from the edge of space in 2012 — glided from England to France wearing an aerodynamic suit fitted with a six-foot carbon-fibre wing.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and legal efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. And unlike other news outlets, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from billionaires and corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click to donate by check.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



Report typos and corrections to: [email protected]. Send news tips to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

2020 Election

Maddow reveals how Chinese group Falun Gong went from disrupting events to running a shadow campaign for Trump

Published

on

MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow on Tuesday detailed the remarkable journey of the group Falun Gong shifting from disrupting White House events to dominating the conversation on Facebook.

Maddow hilariously recounted the "major embarrassment" for the George W. Bush White House when a protester interrupted remarks by President of China Hu Jintao.

The protester was credentialed to cover the event for the Epoch Times, which is controlled by Falun Gong.

"Well, NBC News has a scoop out today about that group, about how that paper, the Epoch Times has transformed itself a lot in the Trump era. It’s a real revelation, this reporting from NBC News," Maddow said. "I mean, Epoch Times and its media group, they’ve made themselves into a whole new thing entirely and in a very big way."

Continue Reading

CNN

Trump’s failed Federal Reserve nominee doesn’t even know what the interest rate was 10 years ago

Published

on

On Tuesday, CNN's Chris Cuomo invited on Stephen Moore, supply-side economist and President Donald Trump's failed pick for the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, to discuss the state of the administration — and Moore made a hilariously wrong remark about interest rates that suggests the country was better off without him.

"There's no greatest economy ever," said Cuomo. "You know these things ... he's doing well. He's not doing better than we've ever seen before, and you guys got the benefits of juicing the economy with this tax cut. Fair point?"

"Let me say this, I think it's a pretty darn good economy," said Moore. "I'll cite a few statistics. It's a pretty darn good one. We have the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years ... and for blacks and Hispanics and women."

Continue Reading
 

Facebook

Chinese news site run in US hired Republican strategist to help them get in good with Trump and his supporters

Published

on

NBC News broke a huge story that detailed the way that the Chinese news website The Epoch Times has turned from their conservative conspiracy theories to promoting President Donald Trump and running ads for him on Facebook. But the reporter revealed in an interview with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Tuesday, that the site recently decided to begin running its own political operation.

Continue Reading
 
 

Thank you for whitelisting Raw Story!

As a special thank you, from now until August 31st, we're offering you a discounted rate of $5.99/month to subscribe and get ad-free access. We're honored to have you as a reader. Thank you. :) —Elias, Membership Coordinator
LEARN MORE
close-link
close-image