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Some guy tried to fly across the English Channel on a hoverboard and failed miserably

Nothing like an unscheduled dip in the sea.

franky zapata on a hoverboard
Image: DENIS CHARLET/AFP/Getty Images

You might not have heard of Franky Zapata, but anyone in the UK could tell you he’s the crazy Frenchman who has a self-made hoverboard. He’s been flying over lakes and France’s south coast, and on Monday he decided to set his sights further – aiming to cross the English Channel.

He was unsuccessful, but he did manage to get half-way before he crashed into the drink while trying to land on a refueling platform.

Franky Zapata crashed half-way through flying over the English Channel

The English Channel has a long history of people trying to cross it in crazy ways. From swimming, to planes and hot-air balloons, to gondolas and jet-powered wings, it seems there’s always someone that looks at the stretch of water and thinks “I’m gonna cross you without a boat.” Franky Zapata might have crashed on this attempt, but I’m sure he’ll be back.

  • The Flyboard Air made by Zapata can fly at up to 118 mph (The Guardian)
  • It uses five mini turbo engines which have roughly 250 horsepower each
  • Kerosene is the fuel for the hoverboard, and the size of the tank is why he had to make a mid-crossing fueling stop
  • The French Maritime Authority stopped him from making more than one stop, as they had concerns about how busy the shipping channel is

It’s not the hoverboard that Back to the Future promised us, but then again that one wouldn’t fly over water. Good to see the French government’s defense and procurement agency is getting something useful from the €1.3m grant it gave Zapata’s company last year.

Surprised the trip failed? Would you like to see Zapata try again? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience at KnowTechie, SlashGear and XDA Developers. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere, with particular focus in gadgetry and handheld gaming. Shoot him an email at joe@knowtechie.com.

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