Franky Zapata fails in his attempt to cross the English Channel.
Last week Franky Zapata dazzled everyone in Paris by becoming the “flying soldier” capable of flying over the French armed forces with his Flyboard Air. A kind of air propellant that allows a person fly with speeds of up to 140 km / h and controlling with the inclination of the body. Franky Zapata’s next objective was to cross the English Channel between France and the United Kingdom, however the attempt has been a failure.
July 25 is not a random date, the flying “man” has chosen this date to cross the English Channel because precisely 110 years ago, on July 25, 1909, the Frenchman Louis Blériot made the first plane trip over the English Channel. Franky Zapata, world jet-ski champion, wanted to repeat the feat with his Flyaboard Air.
The need to refuel in the middle of the ocean
Although the chances of successfully crossing the English Channel were low (30% according to Franky Zapata himself), they wanted to give it a try. To understand why it has failed, you have to understand how the Flyboard Air works. This device has different turbines (a total of 5 turbines with 250 horsepower each) that expel air to drive the platform and the person on it. It is capable of really high speeds, although in exchange for it too consumes a significant amount of fuel, specifically kerosene.
If we look at the images we see that the pilot always carries a backpack, it is not in going, there he accumulates all the necessary fuel. Thanks to this, the Flyboard Air has an autonomy of approximately 10 minutes. However, 10 minutes is not enough to cross the English Channel, they planned to do it in about 20 minutes.
Franky Zapata takes off in his bid to cross from France to England on his flyboard. The Frenchman’s attempt failed a short time later when he missed a landing platform to refuel.
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– Sky News (@SkyNews) July 25, 2019
The pilot left a beach this morning near the coastal town Calais in France. From Calais we have the minimum width between the English country and the French country, a total of 34 kilometers. Since Flyboard Air does not have sufficient autonomy to cross the entire strait, a series of stops to refuel had been planned. The problem? It is a very busy passage, so after the concerns expressed by the French maritime authority they decided make a single stop to refuel with which in principle they could fly the 34 kilometers.
Flyboard Air has not run out of fuel, but has failed to refuel. They had a base in the middle of the ocean where the pilot had to land and refuel, but they indicate that due to the strong waves and that the base was moving has landed in the water by a few inches. No damage to the pilot.
Regardless of the impression that it generates to see a human fly without wings, the truth is that Flyboard has a number of disadvantages that are still difficult to solve through technology. The reduced autonomy is one of its disadvantages, since it only allows it to operate for a few minutes before having to go down to earth again. But on the other hand we find the difficulty of piloting this device. According to the inventor, it takes a minimum of 50 to 100 hours of practice to cope with Flyboard Air. Even him, being a world jet-ski champion
Despite the failure, the Flyboard Air continues its development. Last year the French army invested 1.3 million euros to advance technology. The French military forces have expressed interest in using this type of device as a logistical tool or even an assault weapon. The results at the moment appear to be limited, but promising.