- Title: Britain's "Iron Man" breaks his own jet-suit speed record
- Date: 26th May 2017
- Summary: SOMERSET, ENGLAND, UK (MAY 25, 2017) (REUTERS) RICHARD BROWNING WEARING JET-SUIT / TAKING OFF AND FLYING AWAY WIDE OF BROWNING FLYING IN JET-SUIT / LANDING ON RUNWAY WIDE OF BROWNING WEARING JET-SUIT TALKING TO AIR AMBULANCE STAFF WHO ARE STATIONED AT AIRFIELD VARIOUS OF BROWNING TALKING / CLOSE OF JET-SUIT (SOUNDBITE) (English) RICHARD BROWNING, FOUNDER OF GRAVITY INDUSTRIES / JET-SUIT PILOT, SAYING: "Around 18 months ago we had this grand vision of could you approach the challenge of human flight in an entirely different way?; very much augmenting the human body rather than putting the human in a flight machine. And after many, many iterations we've got to a pretty awesome place." CLOSE OF GAS TURBINES OF BROWNING'S SUIT FIRING UP BROWNING TAKING OFF IN JET-SUIT AND FLYING AWAY (SOUNDBITE) (English) RICHARD BROWNING, FOUNDER OF GRAVITY INDUSTRIES / JET-SUIT PILOT, SAYING: "Fundamentally we've got six small gas turbines that put out a lot of power, all together they add up to 800 horse-power. We've got a fuel system on the back, a big fuel bladder. I've got the electronics on the front so we can access them really easily. We've got the starter batteries - it takes quite a lot of energy to get the engines going. We've then got a couple of different helmet options: I've got the light-weight one for the speed test we were doing today, but I've got a holographic heads-up display one as well that speaks to the suit. Other than that it's a fire-proof under-layer and then a lot of padding, because this journey has been all about falling over; not from very high but that's how we've learnt and made such quick progress." WIDE OF BROWNING FLYING TOWARDS CAMERA BROWNING COMING INTO LAND / SUIT POWERING DOWN BROWNING SHAKING HANDS WITH ASSOCIATE AFTER FLYING FOR THE LONGEST AND FASTEST TIME YET (SOUNDBITE) (English) RICHARD BROWNING, FOUNDER OF GRAVITY INDUSTRIES / JET-SUIT PILOT, SAYING: "It's not taken very long for my brain to start to move and adjust my arms in a way that I'm not consciously aware of. So I now just think about where I want to go and it kind of happens; a bit like riding a bike in three dimensions, you don't think about leaning into the wobbles." BROWNING TAKING OF AND FLYING AWAY BROWNING FLYING PAST CAMERA (SOUNDBITE) (English) RICHARD BROWNING, FOUNDER OF GRAVITY INDUSTRIES / JET-SUIT PILOT, SAYING: "Some of the applications can potentially include search and rescue, CASEVAC [casualty evacuation], things like that. But at the moment I liken it to a high-end jet ski. I mean, what's the point of a jet ski? It's questionable, right? It's really about having a huge amount of fun, and this is a huge amount of fun and it's an entirely different way of manoeuvring the human being around the sky." VARIOUS OF BROWNING PUTTING ON JET-SUIT CLOSE OF GAS TURBINES / PAN TO BROWNING MORE OF BROWNING PUTTING ON JET-SUIT VARIOUS OF BROWNING WALKING ON RUNWAY (SOUNDBITE) (English) RICHARD BROWNING, FOUNDER OF GRAVITY INDUSTRIES / JET-SUIT PILOT, SAYING: "The next version beyond the prototype version will be vastly more capable. And that's what we will be revealing to the world in the next few months." VARIOUS OF BROWNING PUTTING ON HELMET MORE OF BROWNING PREPARING FOR FLIGHT TEST
- Embargoed: 9th June 2017 15:47
- Keywords: jet engine Gravity Industries Richard Browning Iron Man jet man jet pack
- Location: SOMERSET, ENGLAND, UK
- City: SOMERSET, ENGLAND, UK
- Country: United Kingdom
- Topics: Human Interest / Brights / Odd News,Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA0016IH6923
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The British inventor of an "Iron Man"-style jet suit has lofty hopes for powering his creation from a curiosity to a tool in industries ranging from entertainment to the military.
Richard Browning, a 38-year-old former commodities trader with little experience of engineering, developed his jet suit with the help of friends over the last 18 months, just for fun.
But Browning is aiming to turn his hobby into a business - and sees potential for the technology to be used in the military, search and rescue, theme parks, display teams, as well as for private use for individuals with the funds to buy one.
"We had this grand vision of could you approach the challenge of human flight in an entirely different way," Browning told Reuters. "Very much augmenting the human body rather than putting the human in a flight machine. And after many, many iterations we've got to a pretty awesome place."
Browning showed off his piloting skills at a flight test on Thursday, breaking his record for speed by travelling over 30mph, covering a distance of several hundred metres.
The suit, dubbed Daedalus, is powered by six gas turbine engines - two mounted on his lower back and two on each arm - which combined generate 800 horse-power. It also features a helmet with a holographic heads-up display and body armour. Browning described it as "a bit like riding a bike in three dimensions."
A project that started in his garage, Browning says he has secured investment from a U.S. venture capitalist, and spurred interest from entertainment giants and the British and U.S. militaries.
In addition to the friends who helped him develop the Daedalus, Browning says that he now has software engineers, 3D printing experts, jet propulsion specialists and polyurethane welders working on the project with him.
Browning is not the only person to have pursued dreams of jet-powered glory. In Dubai, firefighters have showcased water jet boots that allow the wearer to fly over bodies of water, and French inventor Franky Zapata has created a jet-powered hover-board.
The next step in Browning's project is the Genesis suit which he is developing with the aid of experts and his investors. Despite asking potential buyers to wait for the Genesis, Browning said he had already sold a Daedalus suit to one customer.
Browning still however, has challenges to overcome, before he can really emulate "Iron Man" - specifically - how to ascend safely from the ground to a height that a parachute could be deployed - effectively with no safety net.
"The next version beyond the prototype version will be vastly more capable. And that's what we will be revealing to the world in the next few months," Browning said.
Whether Browning's dreams of widespread commercial adoption for his creation take flight, or come crashing down to earth, remains to be seen.
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