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French daredevil blasts off in attempt to cross the Channel on his home-made 120mph HOVERBOARD

French daredevil blasts off in attempt to cross the Channel on his home-made 120mph HOVERBOARD – after putting his chances of success at 50%

  •  Franky Zapata, 40, took off from near Calais to St Margaret’s Bay near Dover
  •  He carried about 42 litres of kerosene in his backpack and will stop to refuel
  •  Zapata wowed crowds on Bastille Day, flying over a military parade in Paris

A french daredevil on a home-made jet-powered hoverboard started an attempt to cross the English Channel between France and Britain on Thursday.  

Franky Zapata, 40, took off from Sangatte, near Calais, and aims to fly to St Margaret’s Bay near Dover in around 20 minutes. 

Standing on a platform powered by five small jet engines, Mr Zapata set off at 0706 GMT and hopes to reach to Dover flying in speeds of up to 120mph – stopping halfway to refuel on a ship. 

Franky Zapata, 40, took off from Sangatte, near Calais, and aims to fly to St Margaret’s Bay near Dover in around 20 minutes

The former military soldier will reach heights of us to 140 kilometres (87 miles) per hour at an altitude of between 15 to 20 metres. 

He carried about 42 litres of kerosene in his backpack but will need to stop midway on a ship to refuel his ‘Flyboard’.

The inventor told Sky News he will have a ‘50% chance of success’ to cross the Channel, although he has ‘absolute confidence in the technology’.

Mr Zappata, who is also known as the ‘Green Goblin’, is marking the 11th anniversary of Louis Bleriot making his first solo flight across the Channel. 

The former military soldier will reach heights of us to 140 kilometres (87 miles) per hour at an altitude of between 15 to 20 metres

The former military soldier will reach heights of us to 140 kilometres (87 miles) per hour at an altitude of between 15 to 20 metres 

Zapata wowed crowds on July 14 Bastille Day, flying over a military parade on Paris’ Place de la Concorde in the presence of French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.   

Mr Zapata’s hoverboard was inspired by the flying suit worn by the lead character in the superhero movie Iron Man, and is powered by five turbojet engines. He hopes it will one day enter commercial production, as a revolutionary piece of military hardware.

‘When you fly with your body, even your hands affect the direction you want to go in,’ he said. ‘You feel the turbulence and the air through your fingers. It’s like becoming a bird. But it’s also very hard. I have to fight against the wind with my legs so there’s pain too. It’s not as peaceful as it looks.’ 

Mr Zapata's hoverboard was inspired by the flying suit worn by the lead character in the superhero movie Iron Man, and is powered by five turbojet engines

Mr Zapata’s hoverboard was inspired by the flying suit worn by the lead character in the superhero movie Iron Man, and is powered by five turbojet engines 

France’s maritime prefecture, bureaucrats who hold official sway over his country’s portion of the Channel, have said no some of his plans.

Citing health and safety, they did not allow him to station a refuelling vessel for his device in French waters.

As a result, the dashing inventor will have to travel all the way into Britain’s portion of the Channel before he can refill his backpack with kerosene. 

France's maritime prefecture, bureaucrats who hold official sway over his country's portion of the Channel, have said no some of his plans

France’s maritime prefecture, bureaucrats who hold official sway over his country’s portion of the Channel, have said no some of his plans

Current models of the Flyboard Air can only stay airborne for about ten minutes on a single tank of fuel. 

‘This has made the challenge ten times more difficult,’ Zapata told Le Parisien newspaper. ‘It’s a completely arbitrary and unjustified decision . . . It won’t be easy at all, and I give it a 30 per cent chance of succeeding.’

A French maritime officials spokesman said: ‘The crossing is extremely dangerous given the traffic in the Channel, one of the busiest straits in the world.’  

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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