Insight & Analysis

The flying Frenchman

Published: Aug 2019

Crossing the English Channel by air or by sea has seen countless records broken. More recently, a French inventor has set a brand-new record, making the first-ever successful Channel crossing – on a jet-powered flyboard.

The successful crossing by 40-year-old French inventor Franky Zapata on 4th August saw him soar across the Channel on the futuristic flyboard, reaching speeds of up to 106 miles per hour. Fuelled by a backpack full of kerosene, Franky made the daring 22-mile journey from France to England in just over 20 minutes.

A former jet-ski champion, Franky had failed in his first attempt to cross the Channel on 25th July after complications with refuelling halfway. This time however, escorted by three helicopters, there were no issues and he touched down in St Margaret’s Bay near Dover, Kent to rapturous applause.

“I’m feeling happy. It’s just an amazing moment in my life,” he told reporters after landing. Whether this is a historic event or not, I’m not the one to decide that, time will tell,” he added.

Franky’s daring feat was intended to commemorate the 110th anniversary of the first flight from France to England, made by the French pilot Louis Blériot in 1909.

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