Now THIS is a freaking hoverboard!
This is the Flyboard Air, the latest brainchild of French stunt pilot and Flyboard inventor Franky Zapata of Zapata Racing. Dubbed an “independent propulsion unit,” the Flyboard Air can reach a 10,000-foot ceiling and move up to 93.2 miles per hour on 10 minutes of fuel, Zapata Racing claims. And while it may be a few months late for Back to the Future Day, the Flyboard can fly safely over water. How’s that for futuristic, Marty McFly?
That’s a tall order—hitting a 10,000-foot ceiling on just 10 minutes of fuel would subject the unprotected pilot to an extraordinary amount of force and resistance at low oxygen levels. And since the company hasn’t exactly explained how it works, we can’t be totally sure how the thing works, or that it’s even real.
But we’re inclined to believe it, even with a grain of salt. Judging by the exhaust emitted underneath the board (clearly visible in the above video around 1:11), it’s powered by at least one small jet engine. The fuel seems to be stored in the pilot’s backpack, while the device is controlled via a wireless joystick (visible around 0:23).
And despite Zapata Racing’s legacy of compact propulsion engineering, a couple of digital Debbie Downers have decided that there is no freaking way the Flyboard Air is real. “The video is undoubtedly incredible, but sad to say that there’s no way that this can be real, right?” muses the website BGR. “I mean, the laws of physics simply won’t allow it!” Not sure which laws they’re referring to, but consider us unmoved by that conspiracy theory—especially because even small jet engines can produce a helluva lot of force.
Presumably miffed by the skepticism, the company posted a follow-up video—this one showing a landing, albeit shot on a lower-quality camera. “For those who think the Flyboard Air is a fake,” the company wrote in the post. “A normal training day @ ZR. Stay tuned this [weekend] we break a record.”
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