Frenchman and inventor Franky Zapata successfully crossed the English Channel on a jet-powered Fly Board on Sunday morning — a week after his first bid ended in failure.
Zapata departed from the French town of Sangatte shortly after 08:15 CEST and reached Saint Margaret’s Bay, near Dover, some 22 minutes later after travelling about 36 kilometres and stopping halfway to refuel.
Zapata, who shed a few tears after landing and talking to his family, told French media that “the last five, six kilometres were pure pleasure, to see the [British] coast approaching like this.”
He told reporters during a press conference later in the day that he had recorded a top speed of 202 kilometres per hour during the crossing.
His first attempt, on July 25, failed halfway through when he missed a landing platform mounted on a boat on which he was meant to refuel.
A technician said after the first attempt that the waves had been to blame for Zapata’s failure to safely land on the boat.
This time around, the team built “a bigger boat” and “a bigger platform”, Zapata said a day before his second attempt, adding that they had “worked 16 hours per day to build a new fly boarded.”
The Frenchman became known as the “flying soldier” when he showed off his invention before the world’s media at France’s Bastille Day military parade on July 14.
His company is also awaiting authorisation from French authorities to test a flying car, he said.
Video of Frenchman flying on a Fly Board across the English Channel. pic.twitter.com/m8Zu1Xqwfm
— #BBNaija Laila Ijeoma (@LailaIjeoma) August 5, 2019