French inventor Franky Zapata crossed the English Channel on a jet-powered hoverboard on 4th August. He achieved this feat just a few days after his first failed attempt when he fell into the water when trying to refuel but remained uninjured.
The journey that took just over 20 minutes to complete started off from Sangatte on the north coast of France. He was escorted by three helicopters and landed on England’s South Coast at St. Margaret’s Bay in Dover. He covered the 35-kilometre stretch flying 15 to 20 metres above the watch at an average speed of 140 kilometres an hour.
A former jet ski champion, Zapata had attempted this feat on 25th July earlier but, unfortunately, fell into the sea while refuelling. Subsequently, he worked for around 15 to 16 hours every day to rebuild his hoverboard. To mitigate the risks that he faced on the previous failed attempt, his refuelling boat was bigger and had a larger landing area.
Franky Zapata became a sensation when he soared into the sky on his hoverboard in Paris at the Bastille Day military parade on 14th July. He also collaborates with the French military, which has given his organization Z-AIR a development grant of 1.3 million euros.
Zapata’s perseverance and determination are worth a mention too. He has been working on his hoverboard consistently for years despite the fact that two of his fingers were sucked into the turbines during his maiden flight.