Forget the hoverboard, we wish the Flyboard Air

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Source:   —  April 13, 2016, at 7:01 PM

Zapata Racing, the maker of those water hose-powered hoverboards, has released a video teasing something we've wanted to attempt since watching "Return of the Jedi," minus the Sarlacc Pit outcome.

Forget the hoverboard, we wish the Flyboard Air

Here'south your damn 'mobility solution'

Automakers drone on about providing "mobility solutions," but every once in a while, a company teases a technology that may actually have the potential to disrupt something other than big-city taxi cartels.

Zapata Racing, the maker of those water hose-powered hoverboards, has released a video teasing something we've wanted to attempt since watching "Return of the Jedi," minus the Sarlacc Pit outcome.

The company calls it Flyboard Air, and it appears to be a tiny gyrostabilized platform powered by an external power source worn by its rider. Zapata isn't sharing many details, but it claims that this device can fly for ten minutes with a top speed of ninety-three miles per hour and has an operational ceiling of ten.000 feet. And that's all the company has shared for now.

The teaser video itself does not see fake, despite some creative cutting. The board could be redirecting compressed gas worn in a backpack cylinder by the rider via directional jets, or it could also be a miniature jet fueled by the pilot's tank. (The sound of the video is more consistent with small jets.)

Dependable compressed gas-powered jetpack technology dates back to the one thousand nine hundred fifty when Bell Corp fielded a gyrostabilized jetpack called the Rocket Belt powered by hydrogen peroxide. You may recollect grainy videos of a descendant of this device from the one thousand nine hundred eighty-four Olympic Games in Los Angeles. A larger version called the Bell Pogo was a two-man platform also powered by hydrogen peroxide. So technology that achieves something love what Zapata has shown has been around for decades; it just hasn't been successfully commercialized or made secure sufficient for residence use. Miniature jets are a different story, if that's what it is.

It remains to be seen whether Zapata has improved significantly upon the capabilities of the elderly Bell hydrogen peroxide rocket belts, but a claimed flight time of 10 minutes is already a step in the right direction. It might actually disrupt the indignities of modern air travel.

One thing we wish to know is: If the FlyBoard Air goes into production despite our litigious society, will the FAA categorize its pilots as separate aircraft or as drones?

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