Emmanuel Macron tweets wild video of a man riding a hoverboard, and hints it could be used by the French army

hoverboard Bastille day

  • A French inventor zoomed above crowds on a hoverboard at Bastille Day celebrations on Sunday.
  • The board is called a “Flyboard Air,” and can reach speeds of 118 mph.
  • President Emmanuel Macron shared a video, saying he was “proud of our army.”
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French President Emmanuel Macron shared a video of a man zooming around the sky above celebrations on Bastille Day in Paris on Sunday.

The man appeared to be carrying a rifle, or at least a replica rifle, while he soared above the crowds.

France 24 reports that the man is a former jet-skiing champion and inventor named Franky Zapata. He is riding a “Flyboard Air,” a device developed by his company Zapata. A photo on Zapata’s Instagram gives a closer picture of himself strapped into the device:

Un honneur de représenter la France 🇫🇷 #fetenationale #14juillet #agenceinnovationdefense #ministeredesarmees #france #paris #army #humanflight #zapata #flyboardair #entrepreneur

A post shared by Franky Zapata (@frankyzapata) on Jul 14, 2019 at 8:25am PDT on
Jul 14, 2019 at 8:25am PDT

The Guardian reports that the jet-powered board can reach speeds of 190 km/h (118 mph) and was originally designed to fly above bodies of water.

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Both Macron and French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly cast the display as a display of military strength.

“Proud of our army, modern and innovative,” Macron tweeted alongside the video. Parly, meanwhile, told radio station France Inter that the board “can allow tests for different kinds of uses, for example as a flying logistical platform or, indeed, as an assault platform,” according to France 24.

It is not clear if the machine is being formally tested by the French military. Zapata has previously marketed an adapted version of the board – called the EZ-Fly — for military applications.

Zapata’s Bastille Day display marks quite a turnaround for the inventor, who was banned in 2017 from riding the hoverboard in France.

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