French “flying man” successfully crosses English Channel

French “flying man” Franky Zapata on Sunday successfully crossed the English Channel on a “flyboard” he designed, fulfilling his ambition just 10 days after a failure.

Zapata, maneuvering his jet-powered aircraft, took the 35 km flying challenge at Dover Strait, the narrowest point of the English Channel.

He soared into the air from Sangatte, northern coast of France at 8:15 am (0615 GMT) under the escort of three helicopters. In just about 20 minutes and a stopover on a boat for refueling, he landed at Saint Margaret’s Bay in Dover, England, safe and sound.

“I’m feeling good. I’m feeling happy, I’m feeling lucky. This is just an amazing moment for me,” Zapata told AFP after landing.

The second takeoff was the tricky step. In his first flying on July 25, Zapata failed it, the French BFM TV reported.

This time, he “landed easily on the boat, he changed his backpack and went away” a few seconds later, said Krystel, who saw her husband off from Sangatte.

Since December 2018, Zapata’s company Z-AIR enjoyed 1.3 million euros (1.4 million U.S. dollars) subsidies from the French Ministry of the Armed Forces.

French Defence Minister Florence Parly told Inter radio that the “flyboard” might eventually serve a variety of purposes, “for example as a flying logistical platform or, indeed, as an assault platform.”