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France

French jetpack man flyboards up Champs-Elysées for Paris parade

media French inventor Franky Zapata flies his jet-powered "Flyboard" down the Champs-Elysees at the Bastille Day parade in Paris 14 July 2019. Ludovic MARIN / AFP

A French inventor and entrepreneur has rocketed across the Champs-Elysees on his top creation, the Flyboard, in front of President Emmanuel Macron and other EU leaders attending the Bastille Day national holiday parade.

Former jet-ski champion Franky Zapata soared above military personnel and gathered dignitaries in a futuristic showpiece, holding in a rifle suggestion of the possible military uses of his device.

Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly earlier told French radio the Flyboard "can allow tests for different kinds of uses, for example as a flying logistical platform or, indeed, as an assault platform."

Zapata, who first developed his device flying above water, says that the flyboard has the power to take off and reach speeds up to 190 kilometres an hour (118 mph) and run for 10 minutes.

He is now eyeing a crossing of the English Channel which, for the first time, will require a refuelling in mid-flight.

Zapata aims to make the crossing on July 25, 110 years to the day after pioneering aviator Louis Bleriot made the first airplane flight across the Channel.

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    (with AFP)

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