Franky Zapata, Zapata Racing
Credits: Franky Zapata

Franky Zapata, who created a hoverboard that did not need a hose pipe to cart its fuel to it and as such could take you literally anywhere, is thinking about leaving France. Zapata is being forced to take this decision after being told that he will be arrested if he flew his hoverboard in France again.

Zapata is the founder of Zapata Racing, a pretty cool company that makes all kinds of flying contraptions. The company shot to fame last year when Zapata showed of a brand new hoverboard that actually managed to show itself to be on par with the stuff we usually reserve for movies. There were no pipes, no ropes, nothing connecting the hoverboard to the ground.

What’s more, since the fuel was carried on the back, the hoverboard could potentially be used to travel literally anywhere. Take a look at the video below, I for one, was seriously impressed when I saw the video for the first time:

The gadget is known as the Fly Board and as can be see in the video above, is pretty damn cool. However, the French Aviation Authorities took offense at the device and told Zapata in no uncertain terms, that he would be arrested if he attempted to fly this hoverboard inside the country again.

Apparently, the French aviation authorities are classifying Zapata’s device as an unauthorized aircraft because it hasn’t got a hose pipe feeding fuel and this limiting its capabilities, attached to it. (Wonder if they were classifying gadgets with hose pipes as Kites)

Meanwhile, Zapata has attempted to get the threats of being carted off to prison for flying using his Fly Board rescinded by appealing to other government officials. However, he hasn’t had much luck so far. And hence, he has decided to relocate to locations that are friendlier to aspiring fliers.

As per a Facebook post by Zapata:

I’m going to be obliged with the greatest of regrets to definitely leave France. I am really sad. I love my country. I am French in my heart, in my culture, and in my soul

(Translation courtesy Venturebeat)

Of course, from the French government’s perspective, Zapata could cause grievous bodily damage to himself and to others. However, instead of asking Zapata to confine his flights to certain areas and follow certain safety procedures so that the potential for damage is minimized, the government has banned the device — which is probably the results of years of research — wholesale.

Zapata’s post has brought in support from all quarters, and has led to a petition on Change.org that has already garnered over 10,000 signatures. Meanwhile, we are uncertain as to when Zapata will make the shift. Let’s hope the petition and the publicity makes some French official take notice and allow him to stay and fly in his native country.

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