French inventor Franky Zapata says his flyboard used in an attempt to cross the English Channel on Thursday worked perfectly but he’s going to get a bigger boat for the next attempt. The former competitive jet ski champion was trying to cover the 30-mile stretch of water on the 110th anniversary of Louis Bleriot’s first successful crossing and it was more of a logistical failure that ended up with him being fished out of the choppy waters by rescue personnel.
The flyboard, which impressed French government officials at the annual Bastille Day military parade in Paris in mid-July, can only carry 10 minutes of fuel and the Channel is a 20-minute flight for the device, which is powered by jet engines normally used for large RC models. He intended to land on a platform in the middle of the Channel to take on fuel but the boat it was on was pitching significantly in the small swell. He said the platform caught a corner of the flyboard as he was trying to set it down and “disaster happened.” He wasn’t hurt but there’s no word on when the second attempt might be.