The Zapata Racing Flyboard is in a whole different category than the self balancing scooters we have dubbed as "hoverboards". This is a real hoverboard. You could say that it's a hoverboard that actually hoverboards. But that description wouldn't do any justice to the loaded list of features on the Flyboard.
We'll take a look at the following:
- Product specs
- Background info on Zapata Racing
- Potential release date for this technology
That's right, potential release date. There's currently no price tag on the Flyboard hoverboard because the technology has yet to be released. That didn't stop us for writing up a preemptive review - the technology is just too impressive to not write about.
Flyboard Specs and How it Works
The Flyboard Air is an independent propulsion unit with capabilities that far outperform any other hoverboard prototype. Here's a brief look at what it can do:
- Top speed of 93.2 mph
- Maximum altitude of 10,000 feet
- 10 minutes of autonomous flying
The Zapata Flyboard reached a new Guiness World Record for farthest hoverboard flight. Franky Zapata manned the hoverboard to travel a total distance of 2,252 meters, blowing the previous record out of the water.
The Flyboard air works using a turbine engine to propel a rider. It's fueled by jet fuel which is stored in the backpack of a rider.
Zapata Racing Background
Zapata Racing is the brainchild of Franky Zapata. The company began as a PWC jet ski competition team. They've been racking up medals since 1996, compiling two European titles and 6 world championships.
In 2011, the first Flyboard prototype was invented. It's a water propelled jet pack that was attached to a hose, and runs off of power produced by the jet of a jet ski. This prototype garnered a ton of media attention and soon after began worldwide distribution under the name Flyboard Legend. Generally, a certified instructor is in charge of the power controls for the Flyboard Legend.
In 2014 the next stage of evolution occurred with the Flyboard Hoverboard. Similar to the Flyboard Legend, the Hoverboard is attached to a hose and propelled by a jet ski. The main difference between the two models being that the shape of the Hoverboard is similar to that of a snowboard.
Several other models have been released since the initial prototype, most offering minor tweaks to the Legend model.
The former prototypes, though all water propelled, led to the creation of the Flyboard Air. The Flyboard Air borrows many aspects in design and functionality from previous models. The major difference - no restraints. The air does not attach itself to a hose. This allows the propulsion units to reach a tremendous speed of 93.2 mph and a max altitude of 10,000 feet.
Release Date Speculation
According to IBTimes, Zapata Racing was sold to Implant Sciences, a US explosives detection firm. This means that we could very well see the Flyboard Air put to work in military and industrial fields. While the industrial applications at this point are uncertain, there are definitely some niche markets where the Flyboard Air could be of use.
At the moment, the technology is pending government approval. There's no exact timeline for when said approval might occur.
As far as consumer availability, at this point it's uncertain as to whether Implant Sciences even has the consumer in mind. The consumer market is much larger, but it would take significant effort to get a product like this to market. It's likely they'll further the exploration of the technology for some time before we hear anything about consumer applications.