‘Flying soldier’ Frank Zapata enthrals crowd at Bastille Day celebrations in Paris

‘Flying soldier’ and French inventor Frank Zapata enthralled the crowd gathered for Bastille Day celebrations at the Champs Elysees Avenue here on Sunday, by flying his turbine engine-powered hoverboard while holding a gun to demonstrate the future of French military.

A video of his flight was shared by French President Emmanuel Macron, who led the National Day celebrations. “Proud of our army, modern and innovative,” Macron tweeted while sharing the clip.

Zapata, who invented the first functional hoverboard, was given a USD 1.47 million grant by the French military last year for the development of an aeronautical micro-jet engine, according to Russian television network, RT.

Quoting Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly, RT reported that Zapata’s invention can “allow tests for different kinds of uses, for example as a flying logistical platform or, indeed, as an assault platform.” The inventor said that the hoverboard can reach speeds up to 190 kilometres-an-hour.

Celebrated on July 14, Bastille Day is the French national day and the most important bank holiday in France. It commemorates the storming of the Bastille in 1789, which is traditionally considered as the symbol of the French Revolution.

European leaders like German Chancellor Angela Merkel were present for the Bastille Day celebrations, which is marked by a military parade and fly-pasts.

In the evening, extensive fireworks lit up the sky with the iconic Eiffel Tower glittering in various colours, giving onlookers a beautiful end to the French National Day.

Macron also remembered the victims of the 2016 Nice truck attack on the occasion. 86 people lost their lives and scores were injured after a 19-tonne cargo truck ploughed through crowds of people celebrating Bastille Day around three years ago at the Promenade des Anglais in Nice.

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.