French inventor soars above Paris on flyboard at Bastille Day parade

Former jet-skiing champion Franky Zapata took to the air in a futuristic display

A French inventor and entrepreneur soared above the Champs-Elysees on a turbine engine-powered flyboard in front of President Emmanuel Macron and other EU leaders.

Former jet-skiing champion Franky Zapata, grasping a rifle in a sign of the possible military uses of his device, took to the air in a futuristic showpiece of the annual Bastille Day parade in Paris.

French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly told France Inter radio before the parade that the flyboard could “allow tests for different kinds of uses, for example as a flying logistical platform or, indeed, as an assault platform”.

Zapata, who first developed his device for flying above water, says that the flyboard has the power to take off, reach speeds up to 190kph and run for 10 minutes.

He is now eyeing a crossing of the English Channel which, for the first time, will require refuelling in mid-flight.

Zapata aims to make the crossing on July 25, 110 years to the day after pioneering aviator Louis Bleriot made the first aeroplane flight across the Channel.