Paris, July 25 (IANS) French inventor Franky Zapata, dubbed “Flying man”, on Thursday failed to cross the English Channel on a jet-powered flyboard after he missed a refuelling platform on a boat.
Zapata, a former jet-skiing champion, took off from Sangatte in northern France while standing on the hoverboard powered by five turbine engines, with 42 liters of kerosene in his backpack, enough for about 10 minutes of flight. He planned to reach Dover in England in 20 minutes.
Travelling at an average speed of 140 km/h and at an altitude of between 15 to 20 metres, the 40-year-old inventor failed to land on the boat to refuel the machine to soar above the remaining distance.
“It’s a huge disappointment… We practiced this manoeuver dozens of times in heavier seas, with platforms that moved more, without any problems,” Stephane Denis, a member of Zapata crew told BFMTV news channel.
Due to waves the platform hit the flyboard while Zapata was landing and overbalanced him before he fell into the sea, he said.
“The ships were able to recover him very quickly. Physically, he is unharmed, but he is very angry,” Denis added.
The first appearance of the French “Flying man” was during the traditional military parade on July 14, when he soared above the guests in the Place de la Concorde on flyboard.
French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly said the jet-powered hoverboard “can allow tests for different kinds of uses, for example as a flying logistical platform or as an assault platform”.