French Daredevil Makes It Across the English Channel

Inventor Franky Zapata hit speeds of up to 106mph on kerosene-fueled flyboard
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 4, 2019 6:42 AM CDT
French Daredevil Makes It Across the English Channel
French inventor Franky Zapata prepares to land near St. Margaret's beach, Dover on Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019. Zapata has successfully flown over the English Channel.   (Steve Parsons/PA via AP)

It was neither a bird nor a plane buzzing over the English Channel on Sunday, but rather a French dude on a flyboard. As the BBC reports, inventor Franky Zapata made it across the 22-mile channel in an equal number of minutes, powered by a kerosene backpack and including one pitstop to refuel; he reached speeds of 106mph. Zapata's attempt at the feat failed in July over a refueling snafu that involved swapping backpacks. "Whether this is a historic event or not, I'm not the one to decide that, time will tell,"a teary Zapata said after the feat. Whether it's historic or not, France's military is interested in the technology and recently sank $1.4 million into Zapata's company. (Zapata has been wowing crowds with his invention.)

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