Franky Zapata, the man who flew across the English Channel on a hoverboard, has revealed his latest crazy idea – a personal flying machine.
Conceived as an alternative to cars, the Airscooter can whiz through the air at a speed of 62 miles per hour (100 km per hour) thanks to hybrid-powered rotor blades.
Anyone with “minimal training” can operate the vehicle from its odd egg-shaped cockpit while enjoying views up to 9,800 feet (2,900 meters).
According to the inventor, a trip that took around two hours by car at peak times would be reduced to just ten minutes with the air scooter.
However, the Airscooter is not as environmentally friendly as other flight concepts, as it partly uses fuel for propulsion, which means that its carbon footprint is “comparable to a car”.
Described as “the world’s most advanced personal flying device,” the Airscooter can zoom through the air at 62 miles per hour (100 km per hour).
Airscooter concept images have been unveiled by Zapata, the company Frenchman Franky Zapata founded to bring his ideas to life, but the company said it is under construction.
“This vehicle is the first step that will lead us into a new era of mobility,” he said.
“Airscooter has its finger on the pulse and offers incomparable freedom of flight.”
“In that regard, it represents a significant advance in passenger air transportation that we aim to advance in the years to come.”
Airscooter is a vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft that can take off directly into the air, reducing the footprint on the runway.
It’s a hybrid electric motor, meaning it uses a mixture of fuel and electric power to move its six rotors, which emanate from the top of its egg-shaped body.
Thanks to this hybrid-electric propulsion system, Airscooter offers a two-hour flight, which is longer than any other VTOL on the market, according to the company.
Its cockpit features two gaming-style joysticks, making it easy for anyone to operate after a short training session, the company says.
The ‘lightweight’ design of the air scooter weighs only 115kg, which is barely as much as two average sized people (although only one person can fit on it at a time).
Franky Zapata (pictured) flew across the English Channel on a hoverboard in August 2019
The AirScooter’s cockpit features two gaming-style joysticks, making it easy for anyone to operate after a short training session, the company says
Airscooter is a hybrid electric scooter, meaning it uses a mix of fuel and electric power to turn its six rotors
A trip that took about two hours by car at peak times would be cut to just 10 minutes by airscooter
Maximum speed: 62 miles per hour
flight time: 2 hours
Maximum payload capacity: 242.51 lb (one passenger)
Maximum height: 9842 feet
vehicle classification: Part 103 Ultralight
Although Airscooter was designed for the general public as an alternative to cars, it will not be available for purchase, the company told MailOnline.
Instead, people pay a certain amount to pilot their own flight for up to 40 minutes while enjoying scenic views from the ship’s windows.
It’s unclear how much they’ll pay for the experience; MailOnline has contacted the company for more information.
Interested parties can register on the company website.
The Zapata company, based in Châteauneuf-les-Martigues in southern France, said it was “laying the groundwork for the international use of its vehicle”.
Starting next year, the company will open flight centers across the United States, offering leisure flights to its customers, much like Virgin Galactic sends paid flights into space.
The first of these flight centers will be in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, which the Frenchman has already used as a location for hoverboard tests.
He plans to pilot the airscooter himself down the legendary Route 66 before the public does.
Although airscooter was designed for the general public as an alternative to cars, it is not available for purchase
The company says: “Its lightweight design, coupled with an autonomy of two hours and a top speed of 100 km/h, ensure exceptional freedom of flight.”
Airscooter belongs to the Part 103 vehicle category, also known as “Ultralight”, which does not require an aircraft license or pilot’s license to operate.
Countries like the US and China allow their use for recreational purposes provided the criteria are met.
First, curb weight must not exceed 254 pounds, fuel capacity should be less than 5 gallons, and top speed must not exceed 63 mph.
Airscooter is the latest idea of the eccentric Franky Zapata, who crossed the English Channel in 22 minutes four years ago on his Flyboard Air Hoverboard.
French inventor Franky Zapata embarks on a successful attempt to cross the English Channel from Sangatte to Dover on August 4, 2019 in Sangatte, France
Mr. Zapata and his associates are already working on a concept vehicle called the JetRacer, which was unveiled last year and looks like a flying go-kart.
JetRacer has no wheels, but can take off and land vertically using 10 kerosene-powered micro-turbojet engines, allowing it to reach an altitude of almost 10,000 feet (3,000 m).
The vehicle is initially used for stunts and entertainment purposes, although Zapata is keen that one day it will be used in mountain rescue operations or to bring emergency doctors to the scene of traffic accidents.
The homemade hoverboard that flies at 120 miles per hour and can reach 10,000 feet
Franky Zapata designed his homemade hoverboard inspired by the flight suit worn by the main character in the superhero movie Iron Man.
Powered by five jet engines, the awe-inspiring “Flyboard Air” can propel its rider through the sky at impressive speeds of up to 120 miles per hour and reach altitudes of 10,000 feet.
The state-of-the-art device he built from the ground up runs on kerosene, a common fuel used in the airline industry.
Mr Zapata admits it’s very similar to the hoverboard used by Marty McFly, played by Michael J Fox, in the Back to the Future movies.
Powered by five jet engines, the impressive “Flyboard Air” can propel its rider through the sky at impressive speeds of up to 120 miles per hour
However, current models of the Flyboard Air can only stay in the air for about ten minutes on a single tank of fuel.
The impressive board is operated via a small joystick and the rider must maintain a rigid posture while making small movements to steer.
Mr Zapata now hopes it will one day go into commercial production as a revolutionary piece of military hardware – and he has even been granted £1.26million for development by France’s Ministry of Defense.
The Flyboard Air wowed crowds at France’s annual Bastille Day parade as it hovered overhead for about 10 minutes
Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly said the board was “being tested for various purposes, for example as a flying logistics platform or even as an attack platform”.
He had previously broken a Guinness World Record by hoverboarding more than 7,388ft off the seaside town of Sausset-les-Pins – but the French Civil Aviation Authority nearly prosecuted him for that impressive feat.
He has since flown the Flyboard Air over a section of the Arizona desert.
Mr. Zapata first designed a water jet powered board a decade ago, using a hose from a jet ski’s exhaust to power an air device.
It can blast riders about 30 feet above the waves, allowing them to perform somersaults and other tricks.
The film has been in commercial production for several years and is a hit with adventurous vacationers around the world.
Subsequently, Mr. Zapata spent four years developing a device that does not need to be connected to a jet ski and can therefore fly both over land and over water.