Meet Richard Browning, the inventor of the gravity-defying jet suit, who is nicknamed “the Iron Man of real life” and can fly at 85 mph

HE IS a two-time world record holder, ultramarathon runner and former Royal Marine reservist – and he’s buddies with Tom Cruise.

But daredevil British inventor Richard Browning took his ambitions to new heights by creating a lightning-fast gravity-defying jet suit that could save lives.

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Richard Browning invented a jet suit allowing him to fly like a birdCredit: Rich Cooper
The British inventor has been nicknamed

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The British inventor has been dubbed “the Iron Man of real life”Credit: Andy Weekes

The 41-year-old, nicknamed “the real-life man,” made human theft a reality.

Its £ 340,000 suit, which has more power than a Bugatti Veyron supercar, allows it to fly at speeds of up to 85 mph and can reach an altitude of 12,000 feet.

And it seems the sky is the limit.

The technology may soon be carried by paramedics, who are in training as we speak, allowing them to fly to rescue injured hikers stuck atop the British mountains.

This means emergency teams could reach the top of peaks like Bowfell in the Lake District in just 90 seconds, rather than a 25-minute walk – which could mean the difference between life and death.

Richard, Founder and Chief Test Pilot at Gravity Industries, said: “The jet suit allows you to fly and move completely free and three-dimensional, almost like a superhero.

“We are only scratching the surface in terms of what is possible with our technology.”

The Great North Air Ambulance Service, which responds to more than 1,500 calls per year, has called this potentially life-saving invention “brilliant.”

And it may not be long before the best filmmakers realize the potential of Richard’s invention and we see James Bond or Mission Impossible agent Ethan Hunt take flight.

But Richard didn’t set out to revolutionize human transportation or be a Hollywood hero.

Instead, his “crazy idea” four years ago “just got a little out of hand.”

For 16 years Richard worked as an oil trader in London, but he decided to pursue his dream of flying.

He said: “I had a really good career at Canary Wharf and honestly I went into this for fun.

“We didn’t think we were going to create some sort of mass-market form of transportation. And we certainly weren’t planning on building an Iron Man costume.

“It was more about adding just the right amount of power to the human body and mind, without an aid or a computer.

“It sounds ridiculous and yet it ended up working a lot better than we expected.

“There really was no business rationale behind it, just the joy and the challenge of it.”

‘COMPLETELY FREE’

The suit is powered by jet fuel or road diesel which, thanks to its five engines, provides enough thrust to lift a human off the ground.

It is then controlled by changing the direction of your arms – known as vectorization.

It might sound complicated, but Richard likens his futuristic invention to a classic bicycle.

He said: “When you wear the jet suit you’re not sitting in a seat with a control system and a computer – you’re kind of on a bike in the sky.

“Bikes don’t do much on their own, but add a human to do the job and watch the results. Quite astonishing.

“It’s the rawest, most authentic, and minimalist form of human flight available – or ever.”

He says the feeling of flying through the air is almost impossible to describe.

The closest analogy he can think of is “the dream of flying that we often have as children but also as adults.”

The father of two added, “It’s like that, believe it or not. You are totally free.

“You run and you get off the ground and go on, flying and floating, and you can go anywhere you want.

“It really looks like CGI in a movie.”

Richard sold two jet suits for £ 340,000 each

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Richard sold two jet suits for £ 340,000 eachCredit: Edwin Van Keulen
Father of two says aviation is in his blood

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Father of two says aviation is in his bloodCredit: Rich Cooper

Richard was inspired by the time he spent pushing his body to its limits as a Royal Marines Reserve and ultramarathon runner.

But aviation is in his blood. His grandfather was Sir Basil Blackwell, who ran Westland Helicopters, while his father was a maverick inventor, designer and aeronautical engineer.

This meant that Richard had spent much of his childhood imagining ideas and building things in his father’s workshop.

He said: “My dad is a great inspiration for what I do today. My passion for aviation, physics, design and creating anything – I definitely inherited it.

“And my physical exploits have taught me a lot about human abilities. If you relate this to my family heritage, it has led me down a path of reflection, couldn’t you use the human mind and body to meet the challenge of flying in an entirely different way? “

When Richard was only 15, his father committed suicide, leaving behind “a lot of unfulfilled ambitions”.

He said: “I feel like I’ve been on this journey and in a way, by going on this journey and taking on a bit of a daring challenge and trying to cross the line, I relive some of his aspiration. . “

Fueled by his father’s business, Richard’s list of accomplishments has exploded.

He has trained a large number of clients to fly unaided and has flown in 31 countries.

He broke his own Guinness World Record for fastest speed in a jet suit when he sped alongside Brighton Pier at 85.06 mph in November 2019, greatly exceeding his previous 32.02 mph.

FEATURES OF THE JET SUIT

To be able to – 1050 brake horsepower

Turbines – 5

RPM – 120,000

Fuel – Jet A1 or diesel

Dry weight – 27kg

Flight time – 5-10 minutes

Top speed – 85.06 mph

Altitude limit – 12,000 feet

Its top speed has caught the attention of aspiring aviators around the world.

Survival guru Bear Grylls and actor-turned-stuntman Tom Cruise both feature on Richard’s contact list, along with a host of other “LA Hollywood folks.”

He’s even in talks to feature the jet suit in a future Mission Impossible movie.

And anyone can get their hands on one – even if it will cost you a lot.

To date he has sold two jet suits for £ 340,000 each, both managed by Richard himself.

He said: “It’s a bit like a Formula 1 car. Nobody really buys F1 cars, that’s not really what they’re meant for.

“But a few of our customers wanted to own their own costumes, so we take care of that rather than letting them disappear around the world. “

Although he looks like something from Transformers, Richard claims that learning to fly in the jet suit is remarkably simple.

Novice flyers are tethered so they can “train at their own pace knowing they can’t fall”.

He likened it to watching a child learn to ride a bicycle; some skyrocket in minutes, others take months.

We are only scratching the surface in terms of what is possible with our technology.

Richard browning

Richard, who lives with his wife and two sons in Sailsbury, Wiltshire, has even taught his teenage son Oliver to fly and believes he will “be flying him free in no time.”

The entrepreneur said swapping his smart suit for a jet suit was a “real challenge” – but luckily his family were very supportive.

He added: “It’s quite a change of scenery going to London every day and running a trading book.

“It’s a challenge to create a new start-up. But my family believed in me that the idea was worth pursuing and they can see the results now.

And while Richard doesn’t see his jet suits replacing Uber anytime soon, he sees a bright future for aviation technology.

He said, “Someone’s going to crack the kind of autonomous electric drone soon.

“I’m sure we can click a button to say we want to go from A to B and it will just hover over a designated spot and autonomously take you to where you want to go.”

“We’ll get to that at some point, but there’s a lot of regulation to overcome first. The technology is there, but it is the law.

“It only takes one person to enter a school full of children, then everything will stop. It is very difficult to do something completely safe.

For now, he plans to focus on his international racing series, which sees pilots compete to fly over lakes, rivers and waterfronts, as well as his search and rescue missions and collaborations. military.

Richard, 41, is in talks with directors to showcase his costume in a future Mission Impossible movie

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Richard, 41, is in talks with directors to showcase his costume in a future Mission Impossible movieCredit: Aslan Steel
Jet suit carrying paramedics could soon save injured hikers on top of UK mountains in minutes

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Jet suit carrying paramedics could soon save injured hikers on top of UK mountains in minutesCredit: PA: Press Association
The former Royal Marines reservist quit his job in town to create the jet suit

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The former Royal Marines reservist quit his job in town to create the jet suitCredit: Rich Cooper
Richard said wearing the suit made him feel

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Richard said wearing the costume made him feel “like a superhero”Credit: Carl Draper
Richard holds the Guinness World Record for fastest speed in a jet suit

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Richard holds the Guinness World Record for fastest speed in a jet suitCredit: GWR
Paramedic wearing jet suit may soon fly to UK mountain tops to treat injured hikers


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