On this day 230 years ago, hundreds of French civilians stormed the military prison known as the Bastille in Paris. It was one of the biggest events in the French Revolution, and its anniversary in 2019 was an excuse to show off a goofy hoverboard.
New military tech was showcased at the annual Bastille Day parade in Paris, including the aforementioned flying contraption. French president Emmanuel Macron looked on as the “flyboard” soared above the parade while its rider held a rifle in his hand.
A video of the demonstration, tweeted by Macron, was the talk of the town on Twitter on Sunday morning.
Fier de notre armée, moderne et innovante. pic.twitter.com/DQvIfPolQf— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) July 14, 2019
According to The Guardian, its rider was Franky Zapata, a French inventor and former jet ski champion who has been showing off the flyboard for a few years now. Zapata actually set a new Guinness World Record for farthest hoverboard flight on the flyboard in 2016.
While it’s tough not to giggle a little bit as the rifle-wielding inventor zooms across the skies above Paris in the video, the technology itself is pretty interesting. The flyboard can hit a top speed of 190 kilometers per hour (roughly 118mph for Americans), per The Guardian. That must come at a considerable cost, as it only runs for 10 minutes at a time.
The 2019 Bastille Day parade was themed around European military cooperation. Aside from Zapata’s flyboard, other recent military tech innovations were on hand for the event. These included drones and anti-drone weaponry, according to NBC News.
Sunday’s parade wasn’t all viral videos, though. As The Guardian noted, anti-government protests courtesy of the gilets jaunes (or yellow vests) movement took place in Paris alongside the parade. More than 150 were arrested before the parade as they tried to demonstrate on behalf of the populist movement, which started late in 2018.