Franky Zapata, the man who crossed the English Channel on a hoverboard, has revealed his latest crazy idea: a personal flying machine.
Designed as an alternative to cars, the Airscooter can fly through the air at 62 miles per hour (100 km per hour) thanks to hybrid-powered rotor blades.
Anyone with “minimal training” can operate the vehicle from inside its bizarre egg-shaped cabin, while enjoying views of up to 2,900 meters (9,800 feet).
A trip that would take around two hours in a car during rush hour would be reduced to just 10 minutes by Airscooter, according to the inventor.
However, Airscooter is not as green as other flight concepts because it partly uses fuel for propulsion, making its carbon footprint ‘comparable to a passenger car’.
Described as “the world’s most advanced personal flying machine,” the Airscooter can take to the skies at 62 miles per hour (100 km per hour).
Concept images for the Airscooter have been revealed by Zapata, the company formed by Frenchman Franky Zapata to bring his ideas to life, but the firm said it is in the process of being built.
“This vehicle is the first step that will lead us into a new era of mobility,” he said.
‘Airscooter is in step with the times and offers unprecedented freedom of flight.
“In this sense, it represents a significant advance towards air passenger transport, which we intend to offer in the coming years.”
Airscooter is a vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) aircraft, which can take off directly into the air, reducing the need for runway space.
It’s an electric hybrid, meaning it uses a combination of fuel and electrical power to drive its six rotors, which extend 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, says the firm.
Its cockpit has two gaming-style joysticks that make it easy for anyone to operate after a short training session, the firm claims.
The Airscooter’s “light” design is just 115kg, which is barely the same as two average-sized people (although only one person can fit inside at any one time).
Franky Zapata (pictured) crossed the English Channel on a hoverboard in August 2019
The AirScooter’s cockpit has two gaming-style joysticks that make it easy for anyone to operate after a short training session, the firm claims.
Airscooter is an electric hybrid, which means that it uses a combination of fuel and electrical energy to drive its six rotors.
A journey that would take about two hours by car at rush hour would be reduced to just 10 minutes by Airscooter
Air Scooter Specifications
Maximum speed: 62mph
Flight time: 2 hours
Maximum payload capacity: 242.51 lbs (one passenger)
maximum altitude: 9842 feet
Vehicle Classification: Part 103 Ultralight
Although it has been designed for the general public as an alternative to cars, the Airscooter will not be made available for people to buy, the firm told MailOnline.
Instead, people will pay a certain amount to pilot their own flight for up to 40 minutes while enjoying panoramic views from the ship’s windows.
It is not clear how much they will pay for the experience; MailOnline has contacted the company for more information.
Those interested can register your data on the company website.
The Zapata company, which is based in Châteauneuf-les-Martigues in the south of France, said it “is laying the foundations for the international deployment of its vehicle.”
Starting next year, it will open flight centers in the US that will offer recreational flights to its customers, just as Virgin Galactic is sending payload bursts into space.
The first of these flight centers will be established in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, which the Frenchman has already used as a location for hoverboard testing.
He plans to pilot the Airscooter himself over the legendary Route 66 before any members of the public do.
Although it has been designed for the general public as an alternative to cars, the Airscooter will not be released for people to buy.
The firm says: “Its lightweight design, together with a two-hour autonomy and a top speed of 100 km/h, provide exceptional flight freedom.”
Airscooter falls into the Part 103 category of vehicles, also known as ‘Ultralights’, which do not require a flight certificate or pilot’s license to operate.
Countries like the US and China allow its use for recreational purposes, as long as the criteria are met.
First of all, the empty weight must not exceed 254 pounds, the fuel capacity must be less than 5 gallons, and the top speed must not exceed 63 miles per hour.
Airscooter marks the latest idea from eccentric Franky Zapata, who crossed the English Channel in 22 minutes four years ago on his Flyboard Air hoverboard.
French inventor Franky Zapata takes off for a successful attempt to cross the English Channel from Sangatte to Dover, in Sangatte, France, on August 4, 2019.
Zapata and his staff are already working on a concept vehicle called the JetRacer, which was unveiled last year and looks like a flying kart.
JetRacer has no wheels, but it can take off and land vertically using 10 kerosene-fuelled micro-turbojet engines, allowing it to reach an altitude of nearly 10,000 feet (3,000 m).
For starters, the boat will be used for stunts and entertainment, though Zapata is interested in one day making it useful during mountain rescues, or bringing emergency medics to car accident scenes.
The homemade hoverboard that flies at 120 mph and can reach 10,000 feet
Franky Zapata designed his homemade hoverboard himself, which is inspired by the flight suit worn by the main character in the superhero movie Iron Man.
Powered by five jet engines, the impressive ‘Flyboard Air’ can propel its rider through the sky at impressive speeds of up to 120 mph and reach an altitude of 10,000 feet.
The state-of-the-art device, which he built from scratch, runs on kerosene, which is widely used as a fuel in the airline industry.
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 120mph.
However, current Flyboard Air models can only stay airborne for around ten minutes on a single tank of fuel.
The impressive board is operated via a small joystick and the rider must maintain a rigid body position while using small movements to aid steering.
Zapata now hopes it will one day enter commercial production, as a revolutionary piece of military hardware, and was even awarded £1.26 million by the French Ministry of Defense to develop it.
The Flyboard Air wowed the crowds at the annual Bastille Day Parade in France as it hovered overhead for about 10 minutes.
Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly said the board would be “tested for different uses, for example as a flying logistics platform or indeed as an assault platform.”
He previously broke a Guinness World Record by using the hoverboard to travel more than 7,388 feet off the coastal town of Sausset-les-Pins, but the French Civil Aviation Authority came close to prosecuting him for the impressive feat.
Since then he has flown the Flyboard Air across a stretch of the Arizona desert.
Zapata initially designed a jet-powered board a decade ago, using a jet ski exhaust hose to power an aerial device.
It can fly passengers approximately 30 feet above the waves and allow them to perform somersaults and other tricks.
It has been in commercial production for several years and is popular with thrill-seeking tourists from around the world.
Zapata then spent four years developing a device that doesn’t need to be attached to a jet ski, so it can fly on both land and sea.