French Special Forces to soon test upgraded Zapata flying platform
An updated version of the Flyboard Air, an air platform developped by French inventor Franky Zapata, is soon to be tested by the French Special Forces.
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Franky Zapata with its flyboard during a training flight before his attempt to cross the Channel over the Sea from Calais in France to Dover in the United Kingdom (Picture source: Army Recognition)
Back in 2019, during the opening ceremony of the French Bastille Day military parade on July 14 in Paris, the French defense industry has performed a live demonstration with a flying soldier using the Zapata Flyboard. According to the French army, Special Forces carried out trial tests with this new type of equipment. The concept was promising, but needed some improvement, such as discretion,maneuverability and fuel consumption.
Today, according to Florence Parly, French Minister of the Armies, speaking at FID 2021 (Forum Innovation Défense / Defense Innovation Forum) the project is still soing on and will be tested soon.
"The first FID was an opportunity to highlight a project that might seem crazy, that of Franky Zapata’s Flyboard. AID became interested in this project because other nations are experimenting with this new form of “hyper-mobility” and because our special forces may find applications in it in the future." said Florence Parly, French Minister of the Armies.
"Since 2018, we have funded the Flyboard Air project with a grant from the RAPID system. The work carried out made it possible to improve the acoustic discretion, the autonomy of the Flyboard and to optimize the mass of its engine. Soon, the special forces will experience an individual, piloted flying platform, derived from the Flyboard Air, leaving the pilot free of his feet and hands. I’m waiting to see this." she added.
Franky Zapata and its Flyboard during the press conference at Saint-Inglevert airfield near Calais, France. July 24, 2019. (Picture source Army Recognition)
Multiple world jet-ski champion, Zapata created, a few years ago, his first Flyboard: a board propelled over water by the jet created by the turbine of a water jet ski. Today, this genius inventor can climb and move in the air, perched on his Flyboard Air powered by 5 mini jet turbines with a range of about ten minutes. It can fly at a maximum speed of 180 km/h. The flyboard uses kerosene to be propelled which is stored in a backpack that is carried by the pilot.
In August 2019, Franky Zapata susscssfully crossed the English Channel with his Flyboard Air in the footsteps of Louis Blériot who accomplished this feat 110 years ago, aboard his plane, the Blériot XI.