After falling into the sea on his first attempt in July, French inventor Franky Zapata successfully crossed the English Channel with his jet-powered hoverboard Aug. 4. Zapata made the hoverboard himself with grant money from the French army. Though the use of jet-powered hoverboards for the average person seems a ways away, the success had reporter Daniel Buhrman and Press Manager Chris Clark asking would you even want to fly around on one?
Buhrman: Keep me on the ground
It would probably be a blast to fly around on a hoverboard like some science fiction hero. But, I'm going to stick to my legs, planes and automobiles for my transportation. That's right now and even in the future should jet-powered hoverboard technology really take off.
I can't imagine the cost and safety issues that could arise flying around on a hoverboard right now. Zapata had a grant of 1.3 million euros (about $1.5 million) to help finance his hoverboard.
Even if there was some business you could just pay to ride instead of buy, it would probably be some serious cash. Some other air travel, such as hot air balloon or skydiving, can cost hundreds of dollars, and those have been around for a lot longer than hoverboards.
I'm not the dare-devil, adventurous type with my safety either. Zapata's first attempt to cross the English Channel ended up with him in the sea. He was attempting to make a landing on a platform to refuel and unfortunately fell in, so it's not like he just dropped out of the sky. But still, think about trying to land on ground and for something to go wrong.
Even if the cost and safety features of the board itself improve in the years to come, and hoverboards become more ubiquitous, I'm still not sure I'd be up for flying around on one. It seems like it would be a hassle considering the issues we already see with car traffic.
If everyone was suddenly flying around from home to work to the grocery store and back, how would that be managed? People have gotten pretty good with cars compared to the ramshackle days of yore — look up what it was like to drive in the early 1900s — but car accidents still happen. Safety features can only go so far when human error becomes involved.
Plus, the air congestion would simply be annoying. I get annoyed walking or driving around the scooters all over Omaha. I don't need one more thing to get in my way when I'm already late for a friend's birthday or family dinner.
I'm fine with jet-powered hoverboards, and people like Zapata flying milestones, to remain a novelty.
Clark: Think of the possibilities
Well a nifty thing happened this week. A guy named Franky Zapata from France designed and built a jet powered hoverboard. He flew over the English Channel in just more than 20 minutes. He had to stop half way across to change backpacks for fuel. He said that he had reached speeds more than 100 miles per hour.
Now, this might seem like a big deal to some people, but I find this very interesting. I know that it will probably never come to a mass build for everyday use, but think of what it could do for emergency personnel. I mean, think about it, a paramedic could get to the scene long before a squad could in busy, congested areas and start work while the squad is on the way rather than having to wait.
There are so many options that could come from this. Granted, it would neat to have them produced for personal use, but I don’t think that would come to pass just for the simple reason of fueling and where would you safely store or park somewhere other than home.
This could also open the door to other possibilities like the flying cars or maybe something more. I don’t think we will ever reach a place like in the “Back to the Future” movies or even the “Jetsons,” but still I think this is a major accomplishment. I really hope that this isn’t something that is going to be swept away by the military. I think that we could use this as a stepping to stone for maybe not the same thing but something similar and more user friendly.