Flying Hoverboards Could Be Future Military Device After Bastille Day Demonstration
It's the stuff that for many years fans of Back To The Future have only dreamt about, but it seems, finally, hoverboards could soon be a reality. And no, not those naff flashing pretenders on wheels, the real deal.
The former jetski champion was filmed holding a rifle and flying above the crowds, hinting at the potential military capabilities of the futuristic piece of kit.
During the show, he passed over the heads of some of Europe's leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Praising the demonstration, Mr Macron wrote on Twitter: "Fier de notre armée, moderne et innovante."
To which Zapata replied: "Merci Monsieur Le Président c'est un honneur."
Fier de notre armée, moderne et innovante. pic.twitter.com/DQvIfPolQf
- Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) July 14, 2019
Speaking to national media, the French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly said the impressive tech could one day be used in combat, to create a flying unit.
She told France Inter radio the hoverboard 'can allow tests for different kinds of uses, for example as a flying logistical platform or, indeed, as an assault platform'.
According to reports, the Flyboard has already received funding from the French military for continued development, and it's understood that Zapata has been working with the US forces as well.
The current model can travel up to 190 kph (118 mph) and though it was originally designed to travel over water, it has since been engineered to fly above land as well.
Zapata is now planning to use the device to cross the English Channel. The ambitious attempt will mean the inventor will have to refuel mid-flight and will mark exactly 110 years after the first aerial crossing of the Channel by Louis Bleriot.
France's leaders and military were marking the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille - the country's former armory and prison - which took place on 14 July 1789.
This year's celebrations were marred by violence as police fired tear gas at protesters following the military parade.
Once the official ceremony had finished, the roads were reopened but according to reports, the space was then taken over by several hundred 'yellow vests'.
They were then confronted by Paris Police who confirmed they had arrested 175 people as a result.
Featured Image Credit: Twitter/Emmanuel Macron