His invention uses 1000 horsepower produced by six thrusters to take it up into the air. It is being used in military and rescue projects. The company behind the innovations, Gravity Industries, has reached multimillion-dollar numbers in just three years.
By Jorge CantilloNovember 7, 2020 Share on FacebookShare Share on TwitterTweet Share on WhatsAppShare
A test of the Gravity Industries jet suit.
“You can imagine, with high energy density and safe battery storage at 10 times more than gasoline, diesel and jet fuel can do, an electric flotation suit that can be driven automatically so that it does not exceed the three or four meters high and an airbag deployment system that makes it completely safe, the equivalent of taking a bike ride ”.
That's what Richard Browning, the inventor of one of the most advanced jet suits in the world, told The Guardian journalist Sam Wollaston, and although there is still much development to achieve to have a means of transport of this type, the innovations Browning and another handful of inventors have us closer and closer.
Richard Browning, flying in his jet suit.
The jet pack of this 41-year-old former oil trader now transformed into an entrepreneur, innovator and aviator; it works thanks to six gas microturbines which produce a power of 1000 horsepower, this combined with the natural balance of the human body, allows a person to fly.
The dream began four years ago, when Browining began to experiment with these types of turbines, to tie them in his arms and start jumping. It did so, higher and higher, adding more and more power, more and more horsepower, until it managed to fly and pilot its thrusters to travel considerable distances.
Sam Rogers, engineer and designer at Gravity Industries, does a test flight of the jet suit in New York REUTERS / Brendan McDermid TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
“There was no business reason, no logic, I just thought it would be fun,” he tells The Guardian.
Today Browning's dream of flying has turned into a multi-billion dollar company called Gravity Industries, which has attracted investors like Tim Draper, a renowned Silicon Valley venture capitalist.
Gravity Industries is dedicated to making exhibition flights around the world, and assisting risky customers who want to experience what it is like to fly this jet suit on their own.
For Browning, however, it is still primarily a matter of entertainment, of testing himself the limits that human beings can reach.
His life story supports his inventive spirit. In his family there is a long tradition of aviators, inventors and pilots. One of his grandparents, for example, flew civilian airplanes and ended up serving in the war as a pilot; the other was the director of Westland Helicopters. His father was an aeronautical engineer, and he dedicated his life to inventing flying machines, inventions that unfortunately were unsuccessful and led him to commit suicide when Browning was 15 years old.
“In hindsight, I realize that the journey is largely the fulfillment of an unfulfilled ambition. My father is just one of thousands of people who has an idea, he tries to push it to the limit. It doesn't work and it ultimately cost him his life. I grew up with it. Now I blatantly like to take on new challenges and try to overcome them, probably to fulfill what I didn't see happen when I was a child, ”says the inventor.
Like the Gravity Industries jet ski, there are other prototypes that are being developed in various parts of the world, each with a different approach. Last year, for example, Franky Zapata in France managed to cross the English Channel on his jet-powered hoverboard. This year, an unidentified man was discovered flying overhead with a jet pack at the Los Angeles airport.
Gravity Industries, the inventor Richard Browning's company, has tested a jet suit with the United Kingdom's Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) for a jet suit that allows the rescue of people in remote areas. YOUTUBE / GRAVITY INDUSTRIES
But Browning's jets pretend to be something else, and embody that phrase that “with great power comes great responsibility”, because this inventor says that it is still missing for them to be used naturally by the general public.
On the contrary, Browning's company collaborates with the US and British Army to develop prototypes that can be used in extreme military situations.
“If you have to take a human anywhere within a three or four kilometer radius of here, over minefields, through earthquake disaster zones, round forests, over rivers, I don't care if it's night or if a storm blows, ”says the inventor.
Also with British emergency services that help paramedics to reach remote places that are difficult to access for helicopters.
The Gravity Industries jet suit on a test flight in New York
In the latter, progress is being made at a good pace and the first rescue tests have already been carried out with this type of vehicle, which, although they would not be used to transport people to a hospital, but to take trained personnel to provide first aid to a place. difficult to access.
According to Browning, his company has sold a couple of these devices, but under strict codes that require prior training and do not allow the buyer to take the thrusters for safety reasons. Its cost is 340,000 pounds sterling (USD 447,341).
This inventor and his company will continue to revolutionize the world of air transport which could sooner or later have individuals flying through the air.