Thursday video: Jet-powered hoverboard from Zapata Racing

Largely thanks to Michael J Fox and Back to the Future Part II, hoverboards have become something of an obsession for many people, a sort of futuristic holy grail for both techies and thrill-seekers.

In the past, we’ve featured them here at The Engineer in our Video of the Week slot, and countless other attempts to crack the technology can be found on YouTube, along with a host of fakes.

But this week’s video brings something new to the table. It features a flight test of a new jet-powered device called the Flyboard Air built by Zapata Racing, the same people behind the water-powered Flyboard that many of our readers will be familiar with. Although some have decried the video as a hoax, the company’s CEO Franky Zapata – who also pilots the vehicle in the video – recently gave an interview to The Verge that seems to authenticate it.

According to Zapata, the Flyboard Air is powered by four 250hp jet engines, with two additional side engines used for stabilisation. The engines are controlled with a handheld remote that works in tandem with complex algorithms to keep the rider upright, and the device can travel at speeds up to 100mph. However, Zapata said the hoverboard is incredibly difficult to control and requires many hours of practise, and his tests so far have been limited to around 55mph. The device also involves the rider wearing a backpack full of kerosene, so definitely not one for the faint-hearted!

Following the enormous to response to the video, Zapata said he is planning to develop a more user-friendly version for sale to the public. Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.