After six months of social distancing, everyone’s going a little stir crazy. Watch this video and live vicariously through this test pilot as he takes a human flight suit for a ride.
The flight suit is the product of English-based Gravity Industries and the company’s founder and chief test pilot, Richard Browning. In the words of their website: “We augment the body and mind with a suite of patent-pending technology to enable unparalleled human flight”.
The company only dates back to 2017, with the earliest research starting in 2016. It has made dramatic strides in a very short amount of time. In 2017, they set the Guinness World Record for fastest speed in a body controlled jet engine suit, going 32.03 mph (and falling into the water at the end). In November 2019, they crushed their own record at 85.06 mph, more than double the speed. They’ve also apparently mostly fixed the issues that led to him crashing into the water.
Despite the obvious parallels to Iron Man, the 3D-printed Gravity Industry jet suit doesn’t look much like the Avenger’s thick metal suit. It uses five turbines, two on each arm and one on the back. The pilot wears arm mounts attached to the rest of the suit. On their torso, they wear a rear engine along with the batteries, fuel and most of the other components required to make the suit work. The helmet does have a display showing engine and flight information, a little like Tony Stark’s. Over time, they’ve also added a leg wing component, which helps the suit fly faster and straighter. According to the website, flights last from 5 to 10 minutes.
The company’s business model is mostly based on air shows and client events. But Browning’s current goal is to create a racing show. He likes to compare the suits to Formula 1 cars, which he says are not very practical for daily life but are entertaining. The competition also leads to innovation, a phenomenon he believes could be essential to pushing the jet suit forwards.
Gravity Industries aren’t the only ones flying like Iron Man. Check out this jetpack.