Zenith Franky Zapata: flying pioneer and new friend of the brand
On August 4th 2019, Franky Zapata has successfully completed his second attempt at a unique solo flight with a Zenith Type 20 Chronograph Adventure watch strapped to his wrist.
On July 25th 2019, exactly 110 years after Bleriot’s groundbreaking flight, Zenith’s latest Friend of the Brand, Franky Zapata, attempted his first flight from France to England with this resolutely 21st century flying machine, joystick in hand and a Zenith Pilot Adventure on his wrist. Due to unfavourable weather conditions however, Franky Zapata was unable to complete the crossing, as the heavy seas made it nearly impossible to safely land on the mid-flight refuelling station mounted on a boat. Taking the experience in stride and more determined than ever, Franky Zapata took on the challenge again on August 4th and this second attempt succeeded.
Pushing the boundaries of what seems possible and inspiring individuals to make their dreams come true are all part of the Zenith DNA. Zapata’s impressive athleticism, trailblazing attitude reflect these intrinsic qualities, as does his ability to remain undaunted by challenges and learn from each new experience. While Bleriot’s repeated previous failures had led him to be dubbed “the king of wrecks” until he finally crossed the Channel in 1909, Zapata required just two attempts to achieve this particular dream. Fittingly, he was wearing the Zenith Pilot Type 20 Adventure, a watch symbolising the unswerving determination that propels Zenith and its followers towards their very own star.
Born in Marseille in 1978, entrepreneur, inventor, top athlete and flying man Franky Zapata initially dreamed of flying on water. His unique and innovative approach to personal flight comes from extensive experience in hydroflight, along with the use of turbine engines over conventional electric propellers, as well as intuitive flight controls designed around the human body. Capable of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) and unprecedented individual mobility, the jet-powered Flyboard Air features the Zapata© technology platform is reputedly the safest, easiest, lightest, most manoeuvrable personal aviation system ever created. Today barely bigger than a large drone, and driven by means of “mass transfer”, like a Segway, the Flyboard Air is propelled by five mini jet engines allowing it some ten minutes of flying time prior to requiring refuelling. It is driven by means of a handheld joystick to adjust the thrust.