CALAIS, FRANCE – Franky Zapata is making aviation history today, by attempting to cross the English Channel on his Flyboard Air to mark the 110th anniversary of the first flight between Britain and France by French aviator Louis Bleriot on July 25, 1909 – who also left from Sangatte. Today a live stream from Euronews on YouTube gives us an opportunity the see this brave Frenchman in his attempt to cross the English Channel.
Zapata is a former jetskiing champion, French military reservist and he is the inventor of the Flyboard Air. Last week he was the star on Bastille Day in Paris, where he flew over theChamps-Élysées in the presence of French President Macron and many amazed spectators.
Zapata will fly between Sangatte (near Calais) and St. Margaret’s Bay (near Dover). The crossing will only take around 20 minutes at speeds up to 140 km/h (about 87 mph).
Zapata said to Le Parisien that his flight on Bastille Day, used 3% of the Flyboard Air’s capabilities, compared with 99.9% for the Channel crossing.
Zapata estimated his chances of success as being around 30%.
Unfortunately Franky Zapata failed in his attempt to cross the English Channel on his Flyboard Air, The Guardian reports.
Franky Zapata began the ambitious conquest attempt to cross the English Channel from Calais in France to Dover in England on Thursday morning.
According to a member of his technical team, Zapata missed a landing platform mounted on a vessel, as he tried to land midway for refuelling to change the 37kg backpack – containing the Flyboard’s kerosene. The Flyboard Air can only fly for 10 minutes max.
The movement of the waves required “perfect timing” and the landing platform had shifted “a few centimetres” as he came down, a member of his technical team said. “We’re talking about a few centimetres. It’s an enormous disappointment…but he will definitely try again.”
Zapata left the beach at Sangatte – near Calais in France – at 9.05 AM local time. After covering 18km, Zapata reached the refuelling vessel in the middle of the Channel. Although the sea was not rough, waves caused a slight movement of the landing platform and threw Zapata off balance and sent him into the water.
According to reports, the Frenchman fell into the sea on the English side of the Channel, but was rescued ‘conscious’ by divers from the refuelling vessel.
Franky’s attempt to make aviation history today failed, for now. We are sure this French hero will definitely accomplish his dream to cross the English Channel. It’s just a matter of time.
Franky Zapata was not injured in his attempt, a technical team member confirmed this morning.
(Image: from euronews video)
Jerry lives southeast of Amsterdam and he is a passionate writer, photographer, videographer, YouTube creator and Ajax Amsterdam fan.
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