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Franky Zapata always dreamed of flying, but being color blind, he was disqualified from becoming a helicopter pilot. —
Instead, he focused his energy on jet ski racing, and eventually created his own water recreation company, Zapata Racing. Still, Zapata never gave on his dream.
"If I can't fly in a regular way, I will create my own flying machine," he told CNBC recently.
Using a number of model airplane jets and a platform, Zapata designed the EZ Fly. The machine is capable of reaching speeds of up to 80mph and an altitude of 9,000ft. The pilot controls the EZ Fly by leaning in the direction that they want to go.
Along with the hardware, Franky designed a stability algorithm to keep the board as steady as possible and make flying easier.
EZ Fly is being considered as a possible tool for the U.S. military. Henry Berkowitz and Daniel Edwards are both former special operations members, and are working with Zapata as outside consultants to determine if the technology would be suitable for soldiers who have not been trained as a pilots.
"It's definitely easy to learn and easy to fly," says Berkowitz, "and I can see how it could potentially have a place in the military."
Berkowitz and Edwards talked about potentially using the EZ Fly for scouting difficult terrains or covering a lot of ground quickly. Though with the amount of noise it makes, stealth missions would be out of the question for the EZ Fly. It's also a gas-guzzler, consuming about a gallon of gas per minute.
The EZ Fly is just a prototype at this stage, and a single unit will cost about $250,000.