WATCH France’s ‘flying soldier’ preparing for his attempt to reach England

WATCH France's 'flying soldier' preparing for his attempt to reach England
Franky Zapata. Photo: AFP
France's 'flying soldier' - last seen soaring over the Bastille Day parade - has released footage of preparations for his attempt to fly the English Chanel on Thursday.

The inventor and military reservist, known to his friends as Franky Zapata, will attempt to cross from France to England on Thursday on his flyboard.

The 50km trip from a beach near Calais to Dover will involve a complicated mid-flight refuelling as the flyboard can only go for 10 minutes at a time.


The device, which can reach speeds of up to 190 km/h, is powered by five small jet engines and controlled by a handheld throttle, which Zapata activates to take off after strapping himself into a pair of boots attached to the board.

Ahead of his attempt – which is planned for Thursday to commemorate 110 years since Frenchman Louis Blériot became the first person to cross the Channel by plane – he has been practising on his device on countryside around Saint-Inglevert in northern France.


He told French TV station BFMTV that: “I've already tried to fly this distance several times and it's only worked three times.”

However he added that he was confident that the attempt would succeed, providing that he could keep to speeds of at least 140km/h for the majority of the journey.

Franky Zapata with his wife Chrysten and their son. Photo: AFP

The dad-of-one added: “If I slow down, I don't get through. It's like skiing or snowboarding. The further you want to go, the faster you have to fly.”

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