You expect to see inflatable floats in the sky above a parade. What you don’t expect to see is a man on a Green Goblin-style flying hoverboard wielding a rifle.
Thankfully, French inventor Franky Zapata was a planned addition to Sunday’s Bastille Day festivities in Paris, and he wasn’t carrying the rifle because he hoped to harm any of the world leaders in attendance.
Instead, the weapon was likely intended to highlight the potential military applications of the remarkable device giving Zapata the ability to fly above the crowd: the Flyboard Air.
Float on Air
When Zapata initially invented the Flyboard, it was essentially a board that shot water out the bottom. Stand on the board, and it would lift you nearly 30 feet into the air above a lake or pool.
In 2016, Zapata introduced the Flyboard Air, a version of the flying hoverboard powered by gas turbines. Now, anyone brave enough to hop on board could fly around untethered, reaching reported heights of 9,000 feet and a top speed of 128 kilometers per hour (80 miles per hour).
Zapata has long espoused the potential military benefits of the Flyboard Air, and those benefits apparently aren’t lost on Florence Parly, France’s armed forces minister.
According to France24, Parly noted prior to the parade that Zapata’s device could “allow tests for different kinds of uses, for example as a flying logistical platform or, indeed, as an assault platform” — meaning Sunday’s peaceful demonstration could help usher in a far more violent future for the Flyboard Air.
More on the Flyboard: “Flyboard Air” is a Hoverboard That Can Reportedly Soar to 10,000 Feet