The Flyboard Air is the latest project from French jet ski champion Franky Zapata, who has something of a history in this area of technology. Powered by four turbo engines, the Flyboard Air is controlled by a handheld throttle and a system of complex stabilizing algorithms.
In the video, Zapata is seen flying the hoverboard above what looks like a small lake or reservoir. The Flyboard ascends to some rather alarming heights and appears to land the safely on a small shoreline dock.
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We never actually see the hoverboard take off or land, though -- watch for a strange cutaway at the end -- and the video's rather curious editing had many observers calling foul. But according to followup reports, the Flyboard Air is real and more footage is forthcoming.
In an interview with The Verge, Zapata says the four turbines pack 250 horsepower each with a top speed of 90 to 100 miles per hour. The control system is based on Zapata's existing line of Flyboards, which use pressurized water piped in from a tethered watercraft. Augmenting the board to fly with air turbines took more than four years of research and development, Zapata says.
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Zapata concedes that he's crashed the Flyboard a few times, in water, but has suffered no serious injuries. The system has multiple redundancy safeguards and is capable of landing safely if one of the four turbines fail. He estimates that new riders would need at least 100 hours of training on the water-powered boards before they could fly the Flyboard Air.
In any case, the Zapata team is not monkeying around. In two weeks, they plan to set a new world record by flying the prototype device three miles along the French coastline.