'Flying soldier' steals July 14 parade show

Now, 'flyboard' inventor is planning a cross-Channel challenge for later this month...

15 July 2019
By Connexion journalist

A man on a futuristic platform flying above the Champs-Elysées was the undoubted star of the show at the capital's annual July 14 parade on Sunday.

Former jet-ski world champion Franky Zapata soared above military personnel and gathered dignitaries in a showstopping futuristic display, in which he carried a rifle. The very particular 'flypast' was part of a demonstration of new military technology that also included ground robots.

President Emmanuel Macron was seen nodding in approval at the demonstration, and later tweeted that he was, "Proud of our army, modern and innovative."

The parade showcased European military cooperation and innovation.

Marseille-born Mr Zapata, who developed the 'Flyboard', said the device - which has five air jet engines which run on kerosene - can reach speeds up to 190kph and run for 10 minutes.

He is now planning a bigger challenge. On July 25, he plans to fly across the English Channel on his Flyboard, to mark the 110th anniversary of Louis Bleriot's maiden flight.

The Channel crossing will require a mid-air refuelling manoeuvre.

Read more: Flyboard inventor cannot fly without pilot's licence

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