Still Report #794 – Flyboard Air Hoverboard of the Future

from Bill Still

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French company, Zapata Racing has invented the world’s first flying hover-board.
In a stranger-than-fiction video released last Saturday, the company showed off it’s first working prototype during its first untethered, fully autonomous flight test.
Called the FLYBOARD® Air, the device is powered by a secretive propulsion pack that is strapped on the back of the pilot.
According to the company website:
“Zapata Racing has achieved the dream of all men and offers you the first video of Franky Zapata flying on the innovation Flyboard® Air. The Independent Propulsion Unit represents 4 years of hard work.”
The company is keeping very tight-lipped about the technical details because there will be a lengthy government approval process required before it can be sold commercially, and they don’t want to give away any secrets to potential competitors before the approval process is completed.
Zapata claims that the FLYBOARD® Air can reach altitudes of 10,000 feet with a top speed of 150 km (93.2 miles) per hour and fly for up to 10 minutes before refueling.
Zapate Racing says that the FLYBOARD® Air will not go on sale in 2016 because it will still be in prototype development and government safety and airworthiness approvals for every nation in which it will be sold.
Can you imagine the head-scratching that will be going on at the U.S. Federal Aviation Agency (FAA)? And they thought they had problems with personal drone technology?
Now multiply that times dozens of national air-safety agencies which will all have to grant approvals of safety and air-worthiness before the FLYBOARD®can go on sale in that nation?
The FLYBOARD® Air is gyro-stabilized, driven by a small, yet powerful turbine engine that feeds its high-pressure air, ducted-fan thrusters for propulsion.
The device is controlled by a hand-held controller strapped to the wrist of the pilot.
Zapata Racing has been known for its innovative water-born products based off of jetski technology.
The company is led by Franky Zapata and is based in Marseille, France.
Zapata first came into the spotlight when he first won the French National Jetski Racing Championship in 1996, followed by his first European-wide championship in 1999, and finally the world Championship in 2007.
He has been manufacturing and selling the Flyboard since 2012, which uses high pressure water from a jetski engine, pumped through a 100-foot hose that allows water-powered flight.
I’m still reporting from Washington. Good day.