Jet packs are real – and inventor just broke world speed record in it
Easier than riding a bike, apparently
A British inventor has set a new world record for fastest speed in a body-controlled, jet engine-powered suit.
Richard Browning, a 38-year-old Marines reservist from Wiltshire, is founder and chief test pilot for Gravity Industries, a company of around 30 "passionate experts from around the world".
Under the supervision of Guinness World Records, Browning flew his suit across Lagoona Park in Reading, achieving a top speed of 32.02mph, beating his previous unofficial record set in May of just over 30mph.
The suit, first revealed to the public in April, is powered by six gas turbines, which Browning operates through arm movement alone, along with a fuel readout in his helmet.
Speaking to The Register, Browning described his achievement as "a milestone on a crazy journey" and a benchmark for future testing.
Although it looks like a high-tech custom piece of kit, Gravity's aim when building the suit was to "adapt and repurpose" – using components from everyday items. As an example, Browning said that the triggers which operate the jets, which he has used since his first tests last year, were taken from humble electric drills.
Learning to fly is in fact quite easy, he claims. Browning believes it's "quicker to learn than a bike", and he has already trained new pilots in just a few days.
Gravity Industries reckons there are commercial applications for its creation. Browning has had interest from Special Forces, Search and Rescue teams, and also people interested in creating an air-racing league.
While he used to see the suit as an "exclusive high-end jetski, something just for fun", he says it could also be used for "serious work". ®
Sponsored: Beyond the Data Frontier