France’s Franky Zapata successfully crosses English Channel on hoverboard for 1st time
France’s Franky Zapata successfully crossed English Channel on a jet-powered hoverboard for 1st time. The journey took just over 20 minutes. The French inventor reached speeds of 110 mph to complete 22-mile journey on his flyboard. He took off from Sangatte, northern France and landed in St. Margarets Bay, near Dover in southeast England. This was his 2nd attempt after a failed attempt in July 2019.
About Franky Zapata
In July 2019, he captured world’s imagination when he took to skies above Paris at Bastille Day parade with board that can reach an altitude of nearly 500 feet and speed of 87mph.
He has worked with United States (US) and French militaries.
Invention: In 2011 he invented Flyboard, a device that uses a water jet to propel rider through air behind a boat. He later invented Flyboard Air, a board powered by four turbo jet engines that allows a rider to fly through air untethered, using a computer to keep it stabilized.
World Record: In 2016, Zapata set a world record for farthest hoverboard flight after he flew Flyboard Air along the south coast of France for 2,252 meters (around 1.4 miles).
Significance: French military invested $1.4 million to pay for tests of board as French special forces are interested in flying board for several uses such as a possible assault device.
About English Channel
It is also called as the ‘Channel’. In French, Channel is called La Manche (the sleeve).
It is narrow arm of Atlantic Ocean.
It is a water body that separates Southern England from northern France and links southern part of North Sea to Atlantic Ocean.
It is busiest shipping area in world.
Crossing of English Channel
Over the years English Channel has been crossed in many innovative ways such as by gondola, pedalo, hot air balloon, hovercraft, monoski, glider and parachute.
In July 1909, French aviator Louis Blériot made 1st airplane flight between continental Europe and Great Britain in a monoplane.
In 1875, Captain Matthew Webb (British marine) was 1st to swim from Dover to Calais, completing journey in 21 hours and 45 minutes.