FRANKY ZAPATA: Freedom to fly like a Bird
The inquisitive mind of humans has seen infinite innovations, ever since we evolved as a social animal from the pre-historic days. Needless to say, from the 18th Century to the 21st Century, we humans have made tremendous progress in the sphere of flying an airplane. In 1799, the British engineer, inventor and aviator George Cayley became the first man to set forth the concept of modern airplane. He successfully built and flew models as the first man to fly. Later on, he successfully built passenger-carrying gliders.
68 years later in 1867, the German engineer Karl Wilhelm Otto Lilienthal started experimenting on the ‘force of air’. By the year 1891, he was able to fly on his first-version-glider a number of times. Otto Lilienthal became the first individual, who was well-documented, to repeat his successful flights with his gliders. On the 10th of August 1896, the German inventor died, when the glider stalled and he was unable to regain the control.
The aviation technology has grown in leaps and bounds over the past few Centuries. However, a human being was still not able to fly like a bird. A childhood dream would drive an individual to achieve the magnificent accomplishment to fly like a bird was made possible by French inventor and aviator Franky Zapata in the year 2019. The French Flying Man has written a new leaf in the aviation world with his ‘Flyboard Air’.
In Paris, on the 14th of July 2019, the world was spellbound to watch Franky Zapata flying over the Bastille Day Parade on his ‘Flyboard Air’ at an amazing speed of 140kmph. This was a new beginning! He enthused, “When you fly with your body, even your hands affect the direction you want to go in. You feel the turbulence and the air through your fingers. It's like becoming a bird. But, it's also very hard. I have to fight against the wind with my legs, so there's pain too. It's not as peaceful as it looks.”
Franky Zapata’s childhood dream was fulfilled with his everlasting passion to fly with freedom like a bird. He never wanted to fly in an airplane. It is interesting to note that the French inventor was born colour-blind, one of the major reasons why he dreamt of flying like a bird. Zapata’s successful journey over the years was hard and challenging in every aspect. However, Zapata’s passion to fulfill his childhood dream has made him the first man to fly like a free bird.
FREEDOM TO FLY
Franky Zapata revealed, “It's amazing, when I am flying around the Arizona desert, through the mountains. That's why I built this machine. In my heart, the best thing is the freedom.” Having marveled the world with his fascinating invention, Franky Zapata disclosed that his invention will be sold to ‘Special Force’ all over the world. However, he is not sure when such a thing would ultimately happen.
Flying alone like a bird has been his childhood dream and fulfilling it is the sweetest moment of Franky Zapata’s life, which the world would always cherish as one of the greatest moments in the history of aviation. He has worked hard and passionately day and night in the last three years to create his jet-powered personal aerial vehicle – the ‘Flyboard Air’. People flock to visit his workshop near Marseille to see his magnificent invention.
Franky Zapata’s ‘Flyboard Air’ is incorporated with five turbine engines, which allow intuitive flight controls custom-designed around the human body for efficient manoeuvrability. Currently, his invention is not up for commercial use for the world to enjoy and experience the feeling of freedom to fly like a bird. The inventor informs that there are various complexities before the technology could be put to wider flying enthusiasts. Regulations and safety issues would have to be worked out.
Zapata revealed about his passion and love for flying solo, “If you want to build a flying machine to want to fly. You cannot be chasing fame or money. You have to have that crazy dream to justify spending all that money on something that only you believe in. The problem with this machine is, if you are not calm you can break your neck. You have to be focused. It's not a skateboard. It's a flying machine.”
FLYING ACROSS THE ENGLISH CHANNEL
Franky Zapata is a genius, when it comes to being an aviation technologist. On the 25th of July 2019, Zapata’s first attempt to cross the 22-mile distance coinciding with the 110th Anniversary of the first crossing of the English Channel were dashed out, because he missed the platform on a boat to refuel in the middle of the journey. It was disheartening to watch Zapata missing the platform and plunging into the water.
Zapata flew from Sangatte in France and was to land at St. Margaret’s Bay. It certainly was a challenging task for him to withstand the 20-minute long flight on his ‘Flyboard Air’. He had revealed earlier that how difficult it was just-to-be-able to stand up on the jet-powered flyboard. He had practiced for more than 50 to 100 hours on water-powered flyboard to get accustomed standing on the jet-powered flyboard. Being practical, Zapata had estimated that his successful trip has a 30% chance on his first attempt.
Franky Zapata’s ‘Flyboard Air’ consists of three parts of the machine – the hoverboard with five turbo engines, a handheld remote control and a fuel tank, which is carried on his back. The fuel tank can hold fuel only for a 10-minute flight. Zapata will have to stop mid-way to refuel to complete the unthinkable so far.
Having lost the ‘Flyboard Air’s electronics in his first attempt, Zapata was soon ready to fulfill his dream to fly over the English Channel in less than ten days. On the 4th of August 2019, Franky Zapata wrote history to become the first man to fly across the English Channel on his ‘Flyboard Air’. Soon after his landing in St. Margaret’s Bay in England, he exclaimed, “I had the chance to land in an extraordinary place. It's beautiful! My first thought was to my family. It was huge! Thanks to my wife, who always supports me in crazy projects. We worked very hard.”
Zapata revealed that he tried to take pleasure in not thinking about the pain, even though his thighs were paining to take the maximum burden during the flight. At the end of his flight, Zapata was ecstatic to not only achieve the unthinkable, but also write a new history in the field of aviation. A childhood dream has been fulfilled and what a joy it was!
FRENCH GOVERNMENT’S INTEREST
The French Government had earlier invested in Franky Zapata’s invention. They have invested $1.4 million for the tests of the flyboard. It is believed that the French Special Force is interested to make use of Zapata’s ‘Flyboard Air’ as a possible assault device in near future.
In the year 2017, the defense tech firm ‘Implant Sciences’ was interested to buy Zapata Industries. Fortunately, the deal fell through as reported in the media.
FLYING CAR IS NEXT
The human brain is one of the most amazing tools in the history of Human Civilization. Barely had Franky Zapata accomplished flying over the English Channel, he is eyeing now for a ‘Flying Car’.
After his amazing success, Zapata disclosed that he is working on building a ‘Flying Car’. A contract had been signed for his next innovation creation. However, Zapata revealed that he needs a vacation after his tiring sweet historic ordeal.