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Video shows ‘French soldier’ flying 100 feet in air with rifle on hoverboard over parade

French inventor Franky Zapata flies his Flyboard Air over the Bastille Day parade in Paris on Sunday. (French President Emmanuel Macron/Released)
July 15, 2019

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s – a “French soldier” flying over Paris on a Flyboard wielding a rifle.

French inventor Franky Zapata flew over Paris on a personal flight hoverboard during the country’s Bastille Day military parade on Sunday, and he held a rifle to showcase the military potential of his flying board.

Watch the video here:

French President Emmanuel Macron and other European leaders were on-hand to observe the display. Macron later tweeted, “Proud of our army, modern and innovative,” along with a clip of the flight.

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Here is a longer video clip:

The AFP reported that French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly said the flyboard “can allow tests for different kinds of uses, for example as a flying logistical platform or, indeed, as an assault platform,” indicating that France could very likely be considering using the flyboards in their military sometime in the future.

In 2016, Zapata Racing introduced the jet-powered hoverboard, called the Flyboard Air, a personal flight system that can be altered for a variety of military and civilian uses. It was reported at the time that the hoverboard can reach up to 60 miles per hour, and Zapata believes it can realistically fly up to 10,000 feet – more than seven times the height of the Empire State Building – if the pilot is provided with appropriate clothing and an oxygen supply. He also said at the time that it only takes approximately 20 hours of training to teach a pilot to be proficient with the Flyboard.

Zapata, who founded Zapata Racing, also said at the time that he is “very excited” about the company’s potential with the the United States Army.

The company currently boasts the the world’s farthest hoverboard flight record. Zapata’s flight system gives individuals complete freedom of movement and the ability to quickly reach high altitude hard-to-reach locations that are inaccessible by larger aircraft.

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The FlyBoard Air was also on display at Lake Havasu in Arizona in 2017, where its creator, Zapata, was seen flying it around over the course of several days.

Zapata said then that he is working with the U.S. Army and how it can use the FlyBoard Air. While those details are classified, he did say the Army plans to make the boards available to combat soldiers.

Zapata had sold his company, Zapata Racing, to Implant Science, which is a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) supplier.

The hoverboard uses an “Independent Propulsion Unit” to fly, and it has a top speed of 93 miles per hour, according to Zapata Racing.

The device is not currently for sale to the public in the United States or United Kingdom.

The cost is unknown, although earlier versions of the FlyBoard have been posted for sale between roughly $2,500 and $12,000.

Zapata is a former professional jet ski driver.