A French daredevil who spent years developing a jet-powered hoverboard zoomed across the English Channel this morning.

Franky Zapata fulfiled his quest after pulling off a tricky refuelling manoeuvre that cut short his first attempt ten days ago.

Mr Zapata blasted off on his "Flyboard" from Sangatte on the northern coast of France at 8.17am (7.17am Irish time) for the 35km trip to St Margaret's Bay in Dover.

Escorted by three helicopters, he glided across the water in the early morning light and landed 22 minutes later in the picturesque bay, to the applause of dozens of onlookers and journalists.

"I'm feeling good. I'm feeling happy, I'm feeling lucky. This is just an amazing moment for me," Mr Zapata said after landing.

He said the indicators in the visor of his helmet showed he raced over the busy shipping lane at a speed of 160-170km/h, doing zig-zags as he neared the coast to try to ease the fatigue in his legs.

"It's an isometric exercise for the thighs, so it burns -- it's quite hard. But you recover quickly, it's not like riding a bicycle," he said.

Minutes after descending from the metal platform where he landed his craft, Mr Zapata had broken down in tears of emotion while talking on the phone to his son, who could be heard saying, "Dad, you're the best!"

Mr Zapata, a 40-year-old former jet-ski champion, made his first attempt on 25 July, to coincide with the 110th anniversary of Louis Bleriot's historic first crossing of the Channel by plane.

But the bid was cut short when he tumbled into the water after failing to land on a boat to refuel.


Watch - Francky Zapata takes off on his journey across the English Channel

Watch - Franky Zapata comes into land in Dover


His backpack carries some 35kg of kerosene, enough to keep him aloft for around ten minutes.

Asked if he considered himself Bleriot's successor, Mr Zapata told BFM television: "It's not really comparable, he was one of the first men to fly."

"Let's just say that I achieved my dream."

This time the refuelling boat was bigger and had a larger landing area, and French navy vessels in the area kept an eye out in case of trouble.

Mr Zapata's team had been racing to repair the hoverboard and its five turbines after it was damaged from falling in the Channel waters ten days ago.

The main uncertainty this time around, Mr Zapata had warned, was that his craft might end up having "a little problem".

But he said today that his team worked around the clock since the failed attempt ten days ago, spending 15 to 16 hours a day to rebuild the device after it was damaged in the water.

His team said he would return to Sangatte - by boat this time - for a press conference at the city hall.

Mr Zapata has been developing his hoverboard for the past three years, despite losing two fingers during its maiden flight in his garage near Marseille, when they got sucked into the turbines.

He already holds the Guinness World Record for the farthest hoverboard flight, a 2.2km trip over the Mediterranean Sea in April 2016.

No Guinness adjudicator was on hand for the latest Channel attempt, though a spokeswoman said he could still be awarded a new record if the trip meets its guidelines.

Mr Zapata burst into the spotlight at this year's July 14 Bastille Day military parade in Paris, where he and his craft buzzed above a crowd of stunned onlookers that included French President Emmanuel Macron.

His device has also captured the attention of the French defence ministry, which in December gave Zapata's company, Z-AIR, a €1.3m development grant, in particular for improving the turbines.

He acknowledged that for now the hoverboard is not ready for military use, not least because of the noise and the hours required to master the craft.

But he is aiming higher, hoping to eventually soar into the clouds at altitudes well above the 15 to 20 metres currently.

That is something that will require him to figure out how to carry a parachute, guidance equipment and possibly an oxygen tank.

Mr Zapata is also working on a flying car that would be easy enough for anyone to pilot.

"Everyone wants to fly... We want to give everybody the ability to go flying whenever they want," he told BFM.