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Jetski Champ Plans to Fly Across the English Channel on a Jet-Powered Hoverboard

Tomorrow, former French jetski champion, inventor and military reservist Franky Zapata will attempt to fly across the English Channel—on a jet propelled hoverboard.

You may have seen Zapata's demonstration of the jet-powered 'Flyboard' (as he calls it) a few weeks ago when he flew across the Paris skyline above the parade below. But now Zapata is preparing to see just how far he can push the Flyboard by attempting to make the 20 minute trip from the French shore of the English Channel over to the UK.

Zapata said the attempted channel-cross is "the realization of a dream," though he expects the flight will be far more difficult than the demonstration he gave on Bastille Day.

"I used three percent of the machine's capabilities [on Bastille Day] and I'll need 99 percent for the Channel," Zapata said. "It won't be easy at all and I reckon I've a 30 percent chance of succeeding."

The current plan is for Zapata to take off Sangatte, France and land in St. Margaret's Bay on the UK side of the Channel. The stunt will see him reach speeds of more than 85mph during the crossing. While Zapata had originally intended to stop and refuel the board twice as he made his journey across, French maritime officials refused to allow a ship to be stationed on their side of the channel for the event. They have not banned Zapata's flight outright, however.

"We have advised against the crossing because it is extremely dangerous given the traffic in the Channel, one of the busiest [shipping] straits in the world," the French maritime authority said.

This means Zapata will only get one chance to refuel and only after he has already made it into UK territory, a stipulation that will make the already difficult task all the more challenging.

"This has made the challenge 10 times more difficult," Zapata said. "It's a completely arbitrary and unreasonable decision."

But that obstacle will only make the crossing more amazing if Zapata succeeds.

h/t: The Guardian


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