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Inventor of jet-powered hoverboard could cross English Channel in 15 minutes

Franky Zapata is undertaking final checks said it is ‘not an easy challenge’.

Franky Zapata, “Le Rocketman”, a 40-year-old inventor, performs a training flight over the Saint Inglevert airport near Calais, Northern France, Wednesday July 24, 2019. On Thursday, Zapata will attempt to fly into the record books by becoming the first person in human history to zoom across the Channel aboard a jet-powered ‘hover-board’. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)
Franky Zapata, “Le Rocketman”, a 40-year-old inventor, performs a training flight over the Saint Inglevert airport near Calais, Northern France, Wednesday July 24, 2019. On Thursday, Zapata will attempt to fly into the record books by becoming the first person in human history to zoom across the Channel aboard a jet-powered ‘hover-board’. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)

The inventor of a jet-powered hoverboard is undertaking final checks for his challenge to soar across the English Channel.

Franky Zapata, who wowed crowds in Paris on Bastille Day by flying over the celebrations on his Flyboard Air hoverboard, said it is all systems go but it is “not an easy challenge”.

The attempt will take place on Thursday, the 110th anniversary of Louis Bleriot’s 1909 channel crossing, which was the first time anyone had crossed the channel in a heavier-than-air aircraft.

Mr Zapata will take off from Sangatte, in France’s Pas de Calais region, and set off in the direction of Dover.

The Frenchman said he was confident but did not want guess how long it would take to travel across the 22-mile stretch of water.

However, he expected to average 87mph so he could complete the crossing in as little as 15 minutes.

Mr Zapata said: “You’re like a bird. It’s your body that flies.”

PA

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