08 August 2019

Men and flying machines: the challenge continues

    Written by

  • Jean Botti

It’s great to see how a man can overcome the challenges he faces: unconditionally good in Franky Zapata!

It is undoubtedly a very personal exploit for a man who is already an extraordinary jet-ski champion.

Flying platforms date back to 1953 with Hiller and its platform. He built 3 prototypes, all 3 working. Now, Franky has grasped the technology evolutions and taken them to the limits of their abilities, beyond the imagination of ordinary engineers. Some applications are opened in the field of defence and security for example, they will all require very demanding training and are not within everybody’s reach.

Thinking of large-scale exploitation is therefore rather ambitious. Today, aviation is criticised for its high noise levels, fuel consumption and related CO2 emissions. Some countries are already thinking about how to reduce the number of flights and encourage people to use greener vehicles. Franky's platform has 5 noisy mini-reactors and consumes 10 litres of fuel per minute.

In summary, I would like to say that I applaud Franky's personal exploit and his creative genius but, frankly, I cannot see an immediate practical application for his platform except in very specific areas and used by staff who are intensely trained, both physically and technically. In fact, very few can aspire to fly, it’s much better for everyone to try the adrenaline thrill in a safer simulator.

Jean Botti - member of the French National Aeronautics and Space Academy, with Italian origins (and heart), graduated in mechanical engineering in Toulouse, in research and innovation at MIT, with more honorary degrees, formerly CTO of Philips, Airbus and General Motors is today the CEO of his own start-up in the field of hybrid aeronautical propulsion.

Jean Botti - member of the French National Aeronautics and Space Academy, with Italian origins (and heart), graduated in mechanical engineering in Toulouse, in research and innovation at MIT, with more honorary degrees, formerly CTO of Philips, Airbus and General Motors is today the CEO of his own start-up in the field of hybrid aeronautical propulsion.

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