Who in fact is Franky Zapata? It’s a 37-year old Frenchman who founded the Zapata Racing company a few years ago. The main interest of the company were water appliances using water streaming through a turbine as a power unit. He became well-known thanks to these water hovercrafts called Flyboard. For the last four years, he’s been working on developing Flyboard Air which is powered by an “independent power unit” and can fly for up to 10 minutes. The company claims that the device can go as far as 3000 meters and reach the speed of 150 km/h maximum.
On Saturday, F. Zapata decided to break the world’s record from the previous year which had been kept by Catalin Alexandru Duru using similar device until then. The event took place on the Sausset-les-Pins coast in the south of France and Zapata managed to travel the distance of more than 2,252 meters with his own Flyboard Air. That was enough to break the record by 275.9 meters. The whole act was watched by over 200 enthusiasts plus the realization team. It’s worth mentioning that the main sponsor of this successful attempt was the Crosscall company which focuses on producing durable and outdoor phones.
As we’ve already mentioned, it took Zapata four years to develop and finalize his Flyboard Air including algorithms that take control of the turbine angle and the engine power. The device has four engines, 250 HP each, powered with Jet A1 kerosene. Furthermore, this hovercraft has two more stabilization engines. The pilot himself uses a hand-held remote control of the engine gas. In the following videos you can check out how the whole flying device works (video 1) and a record of the Saturday’s successful attempt to break the world’s record (video 2).