Franky Zapata’s water-jet Flyboards have very quickly become a popular vacation experience, but the French jet ski champion has bigger goals in mind. Over the weekend, he released the first video that claims to show his new Flyboard Air in action. The Air ditches the water jet for what appears to be a jet turbine engine, and allows him to fly untethered through the sky to a maximum height of 10,000 feet and a maximum endurance of 10 minutes. It’s early days yet, but we humbly propose a jet race againstDavid Mayman and his JB-9 Jetpack.
We’d estimate that no human alive has more experience operating a standing jet platform than Franky Zapata. The French jet ski champion stunned the world in 2011 with the release of his Flyboard, a jet platform tethered to a jet ski that put enough thrust under your feet to lift you 9 meters (29.5 ft) into the air on a jet of water and perform all sorts of aerobatics.
The simple, fun Flyboard very quickly became one of the must-do holiday experiences of the noughties. It was tricky to fly, required a lot of core body strength and sent a lot of people forcefully into the drink – but it was the closest thing you could get to a safe and affordable personal flight experience.
And as it turns out, it may have been a stepping stone to something far greater.
Over the weekend, Zapata released the first video of his latest invention: the Flyboard Air. Gone is the jet ski, gone is the hose, and gone is the tether. This thing appears to take the handling and control system of the Flyboard, but replace the water jets with at least one jet turbine engine and what appears to be a backpack fuel tank.