Logged-out Icon

Zapata’s Latest Innovation: The Ultralight ‘Airscooter’ Takes Flight

French innovator Franky Zapata introduces the hybrid-electric VTOL 'Airscooter' to his collection, making waves in the aviation world


Franky Zapata, the innovative Frenchman who famously zipped across the English Channel on a hoverboard, has now introduced an ‘airscooter’ to add to his collection, which already includes the jet-powered flyboard and an airborne deckchair.

His company, named after himself as “Zapata,” showcased this intriguing egg-shaped hybrid-electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) design at the Viva Technology conference held in Paris. A distinct feature of this flying machine is that it claims to meet the Federal Aviation Authority Regulations. This means, much to the surprise of many, one doesn’t need a pilot’s license to operate it in the U.S. It’s categorized as an “ultralight aircraft.” With an advanced fly-by-wire flight controller and an array of safety sensors, flying the airscooter is touted to be as straightforward as operating a drone. However, the exact date when this airscooter will hit the market remains undecided.

A detailed look at the airscooter reveals that it comes packed with 12 propellers. Powering it are eight electric motors and four petrol-driven motors, allowing it to achieve speeds up to 100 km/h and soaring at altitudes between 3,000 and 4,000 meters. For the development of its turbine engines, Zapata joined forces with ONERA, the renowned French Aerospace Lab, and collaborated with the French Defence Agency.

Now, while the inclusion of petrol in the mix means that this airscooter isn’t as environmentally friendly as the fully electric VTOLs being developed globally, this detail might not be of significant concern to Franky. After all, he’s always had a penchant for things powered by kerosene, a fact evident from his love for jet skis, jet-propelled cars, and of course, his iconic jet-powered hoverboards.

Taking a trip down memory lane, Franky, who was once the champion of jet ski in France, first made headlines in 2011. He ingeniously affixed water pipes and straps to a jet ski’s back, leading to the birth of the Flyboard and pioneering an entirely new sport. Fast forward to 2016, and Franky enhanced his invention. Swapping out water pipes for jet engines, he introduced the Flyboard Air, a hoverboard running on gas turbines.

His inventive spree didn’t stop there. He recently came up with the JetRacer, which can best be described as a deckchair that flies! Powered by ten petite jet turbines, this machine can reach impressive speeds of up to 250 km/h and can elevate up to 3,000 meters.

However, with all the excitement surrounding his newest creation, the airscooter, Zapata has kept a few details under wraps. The world waits in anticipation to learn when this invention will be available for purchase, its current flight status, and the price tag it will carry.

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website