Inventor Flies Jet-Powered Hoverboard Across English Channel in Just 22 Minutes

Come fly with me.

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Franky Zapata taking off from France

Franky Zapata already has a world record to his name, for longest hoverboard flight. But the inventor and daredevil just wasn’t satisfied. So he decided to fly his hoverboard—actually, we’ll use the preferred term, Flyboard—across the English Channel. 

His first try on July 25 didn’t go well. His second try on August 4? He made it in 22 minutes. On a tiny flying platform, from the coast of France to England.

Zapata invented the Flyboard and Flyboard Air. Flyboards are ubiquitous anywhere people vacation near the water. Using a vacuum for propulsion, it allows the brave and possibly drunk to scoot across the water in much the same way Zapata traversed the Channel.

The unit Zapata took, however, runs on “5 small turbojet engines” according to the AFP, and can reach speeds up to just under 120 mph. 

Zapata wasn’t so crazy he did this all alone, of course. He was backed up by a French support team that included choppers and boats and was toting a backpack full of additional fuel. 

It was a challenging crossing, too. Speaking to reporters after his arrival in England, Zapata said, “Your body resists the wind, and because the board is attached to my feet, all my body has to resist to the wind. I tried to enjoy it and not think about the pain.”

Given it doesn’t seem like the kind of thing you can safely just grab off the shelf and cruise through the city with, don’t expect to see Zapata’s jet-powered hoverboard in the store anytime soon.

But we can dream, and after seeing this once ridiculous sci-fi scenario come true, it seems like Back to the Future-style hoverboards are just that much closer to reality.