Hoverboard Crosses English Channel


After a 22-minute flight into the history books, Franky Zapata says he needs a break. The colorful Frenchman crossed the English Channel on the jet-powered hoverboard he invented on Sunday. It was his second attempt. He tried the same feat on July 25, the 110th anniversary of Louis Bleriot’s first flight over the 30-mile shipping lane,  but the board snagged a corner of the refueling platform he tried to use midway on that flight and he was dunked in the chilly waters. Now, he says it’s time to take a vacation and ponder his next moves with the technology that has attracted attention from military and aerospace organizations around the world. A VTOL vehicle and militarization of the hoverboard are on the future agenda.

Zapata took off from his trailer-mounted launch pad at Sangatte, near Calais, just after 7 a.m. local time and this time nailed the mid-Channel rendezvous with the refueling platform. The sea was again choppy for this attempt but Zapata had said after the first attempt that he would get a more stable boat to hold the refuelling station. He refilled his backpack fuel tank with kerosene and took off again. About 7:30 a.m. he settled on the shore at Dover.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.