Flyboard inventor creates accessible ‘airscooter’ for all to pilot

Flyboard inventor creates accessible 'airscooter' for all to pilot

Franky Zapata Unveils Hybrid-Electric Airscooter at Viva Technology Conference

Franky Zapata’s hybrid-electric airscooter prototype

Franky Zapata, the French inventor-slash-daredevil who famously flew across the English Channel on a hoverboard, has once again pushed the boundaries of aviation technology. His company, Zapata, unveiled an egg-shaped hybrid-electric vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) prototype at the Viva Technology conference in Paris, France. This new invention, known as the “airscooter,” joins Zapata’s impressive collection of jet-powered marvels.

Equipped with 12 propellers, the airscooter carries eight electric motors and four petrol-powered motors, enabling it to reach a maximum speed of 100 km/h at altitudes between 3000 and 4000 meters. While the choice of a petrol-hybrid engine may raise sustainability concerns, Franky’s passion for jet-powered vehicles seems to outweigh his eco-consciousness. From jet skis to jet-powered cars and now jet-powered hoverboards, Franky has always had a penchant for kerosene-fueled excitement.

Franky’s love for speed and adrenaline is no secret. As a former French jet ski champion, he first gained fame in 2011 when he attached water pipes, ankle, and wrist straps to the back of a jet ski and invented the Flyboard. This invention not only propelled him to new heights but also gave birth to a thrilling sport. In 2016, he took the concept even further by replacing the water pipes with jet engines, creating the Flyboard Air, a gas turbine-powered hoverboard.

Franky Zapata’s inventive spirit

Building on his successes, Franky recently introduced the JetRacer, a flying “deckchair” powered by ten small jet turbines capable of reaching speeds up to 250 km/h and altitudes of up to 3,000 meters.

Now, with the airscooter, Franky is pushing boundaries yet again. The aircraft, which resembles an oversized egg, aims to allow anyone to freely experience personal flight. Zapata claims that the airscooter is compliant with Federal Aviation Authority Regulations and can be flown without a pilot’s license in the US, classified as an “ultralight aircraft.”

Thanks to its fly-by-wire flight controller and advanced safety sensors, piloting the airscooter should be as easy as flying a drone. While the market release date is yet to be determined, the technology showcased at the Viva Technology conference promises a thrilling future of personal aviation.

In developing the airscooter, Franky tapped into the expertise of ONERA (the French Aerospace Lab) and the French Defense Agency, partnering with them to develop and refine his own turbine engines. Despite the petrol-hybrid engine’s sustainability drawbacks, Franky’s commitment to innovation and his ability to captivate audiences with his daring stunts overshadow any concerns for now.

A side view of the airscooter

While many are eagerly awaiting news about the release date and price of the airscooter, Franky’s secrecy surrounding these details only adds to the anticipation. In the meantime, feel free to enjoy an epic video of Franky racing a Lamborghini through the Utah desert in a jet suit at speeds exceeding 160 km/h.

With each new creation, Franky Zapata continues to captivate the world with his fearless inventiveness and drive to push the boundaries of what is possible in aviation technology. As we eagerly await the debut of the airscooter, it’s clear that Franky’s legacy will be remembered not only in the field of personal flight but also as a testament to the power of human ingenuity and imagination.