‘We’ll have flying cars by the end of the year’, promises France’s flyboard hero Zapata

'We'll have flying cars by the end of the year', promises France's flyboard hero Zapata
French inventor Franky Zapata. Photo: AFP
Fresh from his triumph of being the first person to cross the English Channel by flyboard, French inventor Franky Zapata has moved on to his next challenge - flying cars.

The inventor, who on Sunday crossed from Sangatte in northern France to St Margaret's Bay in Dover on England's south coast in just 20 minutes, has no intention of resting on his laurels.

He says his next challenge is a flying car, which he and his team are already working on and which he believes will be ready “before the end of the year”.

WATCH France's 'flying soldier' prepare for his attempt to reach England

Zapata successfully arrived in England on Sunday. Photo: AFP

“People dream of flying, we've all lived with science fiction movies. We waited until 2015, and Marty Mc Fly's hoverboard as in the movie Back to the Future.

“There were none, so we did it,” he said at a press conference. “In 2015, we were also expecting flying cars as in The Fifth Element. There isn't, well, we're going to do one!”

The Marseille native told local media station Made In Marseille: “When it is finished, my car will be able to go from Marseille to Montpellier (120km as the crow flies) in one go.”

Since the ending of his career as a jet-ski champion, the inventor and military reservist has been creating flying devices.


His flyboard was introduced to the wider world during France's Bastille Day parade when he soared above the crowds in Paris.

On Sunday he succeeded at his second attempt to become the first person to cross the English channel by flyboard.

The one-man flyboard has the drawback of only being able to run for around 10 minutes before it needs refuelling, necessitating a tricky landing on a ship in the middle of the Channel to refuel.

However his flying cars are a more long-distance proposal.

Zapata with his wife Krystal and his design team. Photo: AFP

His creation involves up to 10 gas turbines mounted on a chassis, creating at car that could travel around 100km at a time and reach top speeds of 300 km/h.

Dad-of-one Zapata, 40, says that he has a chassis built and ready to go, and is now awaiting authorisation to test the prototype in the skies above the south of France. 

His wife Krystal told French media after his successful Channel crossing that this would not be the end of his exploits.

“Nothing can stop him. He's like that, he'll never stop,” she said.

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