Although most of its features remain confidential, the prototype of the Flyboard Air flying board has significantly expanded its range since the world record distance set by its pilot and designer Franky Zapata on April 30 between Carry-le -Rouet and Sausset-les-Pins.

The machine, which is often tested in the Catonte Canal at Martigues, is now able to hold the air for 10 minutes (compared with only 4 minutes before) and reach a speed of 100 km / h. Makes it possible to travel more than 15 km without refueling. But above all, the Flyboard Air development team managed to solve one of the major problems posed by this innovative as well as bold mode of travel, namely the in-flight extinction of one of the lift motors.

Developed over the last few months, a complex computer management system of propulsion compensates for the sudden drop in the thrust of a turbine by immediately and automatically increasing the thrust of all the others. Despite this, the tests continue exclusively over a body of water and a reasonable attitude so that in the event of an incident, the pilot can receive without damage. Until one day, he may have life-saving equipment in the form, for example, of a dorsal parachute with rocket extractor.

Conducted daily, these experimental flights should give rise to “beautiful surprises in 2017”, promises besides the direction of Zapata Racing. A company born and based in Rove but whose buyout by a US investor, announced a few months ago, may leave a fear of a future departure across the Atlantic. It would not be.

Present at the Nautic de Paris “In fact, the operation is much longer and complex to implement, explains Anthony Tinchy, head of sales and marketing France. We have a partner in the USA but it is not in any case Of a merger as it was presented by the American media, that the Marseillais and the defenders of the Made in France are reassured: the company, its jobs and the editing process remain French and Franky Zapata remains the Captain of this French ship “.

A move to the Americas is all the less on the agenda, said Zapata Racing, “work is underway at Rove’s premises to allow the arrival of new employees.” The company currently has 12 employees, but new hires are planned in 2017 to accompany “steady growth in sales and turnover, mainly in exports”. As for the commercialization of the Flyboard Air, it remains one of the main objectives of the company, in spite of numerous administrative constraints related to aeronautical legislation. “We are convinced of the usefulness of such an innovation,” stresses Anthony Tinchy.

Since the presentation of the Flyboard Air at the beginning of 2016, demand is not lacking, whether for professional or leisure use. “An interest which should be able to be measured even more precisely from 3 to 11 December, at Nautic de Paris, where Zapata Racing will unveil “a new concept of hydropropulsion machine, at the crossroads between water machine and air machine”, in addition to the nautical devices that have made its success and its reputation (Flyboard, Hoverboard by Zr and Jet Pack by Zr) ..