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Alain Thébault returns with The Jet, a hydrogen-powered flying boat

At almost 60 years old, Alain Thébault continues to fly from project to project. After being “pushed out of SeaBubbles” shortly after selling his shares, the repeat offender inventor returns with The Jet, a hydrogen-powered collective transport flying boat. The one who made himself known to the general public at the turn of the 1990s with the hydrofoil, confesses a part of “pride” when announcing the first pre-order of The Jet.

A pre-order in Dubai

His new machine, 10 m long and weighing 5 t, is powered by two hydrogen fuel cells which offer “very high autonomy”, assures Alain Thébault. Thanks to two lifting foils (a kind of curved drifts that generate lift), the shuttle with its futuristic design, designed to carry 8 to 12 passengers “takes off at 8 knots (15 km/h). Its cruising speed, 80 cm above the water, then settles at 40 knots (75 km/h)”, continues the entrepreneur.

“No wave, no noise, no emission”, summarizes and promises the press release announcing the pre-order of Zénith Marine Services, a Middle Eastern shipowner, in association with an investment fund based in Dubai. A contribution of fresh money which will allow the company The Jet, based in Switzerland, to continue the development of its machine with Bertrand Cardis, the architect of Solar Impulse. And to attract other investors, with the objective of reaching 10 million euros.

The presidency of the company will be ensured by a former employee of the Saudi Public Investment Fund who will join the team in a handful of weeks. “The economic project is first of all to target high-end hotels, which will use The Jet to transport their customers”, explains the latter. It is also for a hotel group based in the United Arab Emirates that the pre-order was placed.

Luxury hotels in sight

“Take Nice – Cannes, by helicopter, it’s seven minutes, with The Jet, it will be fifteen minutes and without nuisance”, compares Alain Thébault. “We already have contacts with luxury hotels on the Côte d’Azur, but also in Hong Kong or Miami”, continues his future teacher. A luxury positioning therefore, but other ambitions. The company hopes to supply gear for COP 28, which will be held in November 2023 in the United Arab Emirates. “Neither mass passenger transport nor maritime freight are short-term goals. But in the future, we believe in it, because we can clearly see that the electric is in the process of upsetting the automobile market for example”, he anticipates.

This is all the more so as public transport requires high standards. “Reliability and safety”, summarizes Alain Thébault. “We believe we can achieve this with The Jet and we have a former electric bus construction executive on our team.” If the inventor had wished to be able to make some of his machines available for the 2024 Paris Olympics, an obstacle seems insurmountable in France if his machines see the light of day: speed limits by the sea and on rivers, which do not allow The Jet to “fly”. Not enough to prevent his business from taking off with his economic positioning.

Source: 20minutes

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