‘Flying soldier’ arrives for Bastille Day parade on 118mph hoverboard as Emmanuel Macron tries to show off French’s military might

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A “FLYING solider” flew over crowds on an 188mph “Back to the Future”-style hoverboard in Paris during Emmanuel Macron’s Bastille Day military parade in Paris.

Franky Zapata, 40, soared at high speed above world leaders including Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel while brandishing an unloaded rifle.

This'flying solider' took to the skies during the Bastille Day celebrations in Paris
This ‘flying solider’ took to the skies during the Bastille Day celebrations in Paris
AFP or licensors
Mr Zapata is considering selling his Flyboard to the French military
Mr Zapata is considering selling his Flyboard to the French military
EPA
Mr Zapata brandished a fake rifle as he soared above crowds
Mr Zapata brandished a fake rifle as he soared above crowds
AFP or licensors

He soon landed his so-called Flyboard, which he hopes to sell to the French military.

Lord Edward Llewellyn, Britain’s Ambassador to France, shared a video of the moment saying: “A flying soldier!”

He added: “Military innovation on display at this morning’s Bastille Day parade here this morning in Paris.”

Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly said the board will be “tested for different uses, for example as a flying logistical platform, or indeed as an assault platform.”

Mr Zapata calls it the Flyboard Air, and admits it bears resemblance to the hoverboard used by Marty McFly, played by Michael J Fox, in the Back to the Future films.

The entrepreneur from Marseille developed the turbine engine powered board in his garage at home.

It can reach speeds of up to 118mph and can stay in the air for up to 10 minutes.

Franky Zapata flew on his Flyboard during the military parade
Franky Zapata flew on his Flyboard during the military parade
AFP or licensors
The device can go up to 118mph
The device can go up to 118mph and can fly for up to 10 minutes
AFP or licensors
Mr Zapata soared in front of the iconic Eiffel Tower
Mr Zapata soared in front of the iconic Eiffel Tower
Reuters
Yellow Vests protesters demonstrate in front of the Arc de Triomphe on the Champs-Elysees
Yellow Vests protesters demonstrate in front of the Arc de Triomphe on the Champs-Elysees
AFP or licensors
Firefighters hold a fence next to a fire during demonstrations
Firefighters hold a fence next to a fire during demonstrations
AFP or licensors
A fire engulfs fences on the Champs-Elysees in Paris
A fire engulfs fences on the Champs-Elysees in Paris
AFP or licensors
A port-a-loo is torched on the Champs-Elysees
A portable toilet is torched on the Champs-Elysees
AFP or licensors
A portable toilet burns next to French Gendarmes during clashes with protesters
A portable toilet burns next to French Gendarmes during clashes with protesters
Reuters
French Gendarmes remove fences next to a burning portable toilet during clashes with protesters
French Gendarmes remove fences next to a burning portable toilet during clashes with protesters
Reuters
Riot police officers stand amidst tear gas on the Champs-Elysees
Riot police officers stand amidst tear gas on the Champs-Elysees
AP:Associated Press

Political leaders Mrs Merkel, EU commissioner Jean-Claude Juncker, Portugal’s President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte joined Mr Macron and his wife Brigitte for a day of celebrations in the capital’s Champs-Elysees Avenue.

Bastille Day commemorates the 1789 storming of the Bastille fortress in Paris during the French Revolution and is marked every year by a military parade.

The French president laughed and joked with world leaders as far-right protesters booed and jeered at him.

Yellow Vest protesters were removed by police as Mr Macron waved to crowds from a military command vehicle.

After the military parade, protesters took to the streets and clashed with riot police while Mr Macron hosted a lunch.

French police fired tear gas at protesters, who chanted anti-government slogans.

Cops tried to disperse dozens of protesters, who were knocking down security barriers erected for the parade and setting fire to refuse bins.

As of 5pm on Sunday, a Paris police spokesman said the number of arrests was 175, mainly for public order offences.

The country, and in particular the capital, have been rocked with weekly Yellow Vest protests against Mr Macron’s government.


Today’s violence has been the worst in Paris since March.

However, demonstrators were not wearing the signature yellow vests because police barred them from wearing them past the barriers.

Some were seen carrying yellow balloons instead.

French Army soldiers holding anti-drone guns
French Army soldiers holding anti-drone guns
AFP or licensors
French gunners sit in a Caracal helicopter flying over Paris
French gunners sit in a Caracal helicopter flying over Paris
AFP or licensors
Helicopters fly over the Champs-Elysees Avenue and the Arc de Triomphe
Helicopters fly over the Champs-Elysees Avenue and the Arc de Triomphe
Reuters
French soldiers parade in military vehicles
French soldiers parade in military vehicles
AFP or licensors
France's President Emmanuel Macron waves as he leaves at the end of the annual Bastille Day military parade down the Champs-Elysees avenue
France’s President Emmanuel Macron waves as he leaves at the end of the annual Bastille Day military parade down the Champs-Elysees Avenue
AFP or licensors
Bridgette attended the annual parade in Paris
Bridgette attended the annual parade in Paris
Reuters
German Chancellor Angela Merkel also attended the Bastille Day ceremony
German Chancellor Angela Merkel also attended the Bastille Day ceremony
EPA

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