A futuristic high-thrills jetpack

A strap-on flying suit, invented by Richard Browning, is part of a wave of change in the world of personal flying machines that makes this possibly the most exciting time in aviation since two bicycle-engineer brothers started playing with fabric-covered wood frames near Kitty Hawk

Gravity Industries’ Jet Suit, £340,000, has four arm-mounted engines and one on the flyer’s back
Gravity Industries’ Jet Suit, £340,000, has four arm-mounted engines and one on the flyer’s back

The Jet Suit’s five engines are capable of putting out 144kg of thrust. They can propel you through the air at around 40mph to a maximum height of 12,000ft (any higher and you’d need an oxygen cylinder), where you could buzz around like a bee for eight minutes before returning gently to earth – at least that’s if you were as practised as creator Richard Browning, who can dart effortlessly about in the air like Tinker Bell, but much, much louder.

Gravity Industries’ Jet Suit makes use of pretty simple Newtonian action-reaction physics. But, as anyone with half an interest in risky flight can tell you, it’s normally far from straightforward to pack onto a human body the thrust required to lift him or her into the air. That’s not the case with the Jet Suit, which former oil trader Browning started to develop, by trial and error, only last year. The Iron Man-type arrangement has two small jet motors that slip over each forearm, as well as a larger one strapped to one’s back. “I wanted to make the human body fly as naturally as possible,” he says.

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Browning’s Jet Suits are on sale, including training, right now for £340,000 – he has already sold a couple – and Gravity is offering experience days learning to fly them near London and Los Angeles and possibly Dubai for about £30,000 to £40,000. He is also planning a race series, which will spur development and be an incredible spectacle.

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