It was pretty obvious that 2015 was supposed to be the year of the hoverboard. After all, it was the year that Back to the Future II took place, which showed a world where young people surfed on concrete with a cushion of air. There have been a lot of "hoverboards" released last year that don't actually hover, but are essentially Segways without the handles. However, Franky Zapata's Flyboard Air could change all of that, provided that the device is legitimate.
If you aren't familiar with Franky Zapata, he is a French jet ski champion that has created a water-jet Flyboard. This is a device that uses the power of fast-spraying water to keep the user in the air, and it is popular with those who can afford it. Apparently, that water-jet Flyboard was just a first stage for the Flyboard Air, which has replaced the water jets for a jet turbine engine.
There is a video of the Flyboard Air in action that you can see below. The action looks incredible as Zapata flies through the air with what apparently looks like the greatest of ease. This Independent Propulsion Unit allows him to fly for a 10-minute duration, at a top speed of 93 mph.
There have been many doubts wondering if this device is real. The fact that the video deletes any scenes of him taking off is one of them. One would think that if someone had a device that could achieve one-manned sustainable flight, then the first shot after the prep shots would be showing the moment when the Flyboard Air goes airborne. After all, the Wright Brothers would be nothing without that famous shot of their Kitty Hawk actually taking off. The video does show Zapata landing, and it doesn't appear to be a bumpy one.
BGR states that "The video is undoubtedly incredible, but sad to say that there's no way that this can be real, right? I mean, the laws of physics simply won't allow it." Another big figure of doubt is how Zapata is controlling the Flyboard, as it seems like he is just standing on it very still, unless he is subtly shifting his weight on it to make it work (like a real skateboard on land).
The Daily Mail reports that The Flyboard Air allows users to fly untethered through the sky to a height of 10,000 feet, which is the equivalent of seven Empire State buildings stacked on top of each other. The video does not show him going anywhere near that high, so I'm not certain how that figure could have been derived.
The issue is if Zapata has really achieved this type of flight, it would not be difficult to prove. There is no point in giving a release date for this device, as it is in the testing stages, but at least it has got off the ground. By the way, the rules of Back to the Future II says that you can't take hoverboards on water, unless you got power. Zapata apparently has that, and let's hope that he really has perfected this technology, as it could change transportation as we know it.