‘Real life Iron Man’ demonstrates potential emergency rescue use for jet suits


Amazing footage shows a ‘real life Iron Man’ demonstrate how air ambulance medics could rescue stranded ramblers in just minutes using a jet pack.

The rocket powered suit, worn by inventor Richard Browning, could form part of the emergency response unit in the Lake District, according to ambulance chiefs.

As part of a test run, it was able to reach the peak 3,117ft peak of Helvellyn mountain in under eight minutes – it would take a helicopter three times as long.  

The suit was put through its paces by Browning on Langdale Pike where he flew over difficult terrain at heights of up to 20ft searching for a party of walkers.

These walkers were playing the part of casualties needing to be rescued and within minutes he had located them – a search that could have taken over an hour on foot. 

The jet suits sell for £340,000 but Browning, and his firm Gravity, says it is considering a lease arrangement with emergency services who need them. 

Amazing footage shows a ‘real life Iron Man’ demonstrate how Air Ambulance medics could rescue stranded ramblers in just minutes using a jet pack

Andy Mawson, Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) director of operations saw the potential for the jet suits in the Lakes and other rugged terrain covered by GNAAS when he saw footage of Browning flying in the suit online. 

GNAAS and Gravity have been in discussions for a year, culminating in the test flight two weeks ago that saw a simulated rescue at Langdale on The Band, Bowfell. 

The ambulance service stressed it was only a test flight but what looked like science fiction is soon expected to become science fact.

GNAAS is carrying out a few modifications to the jet pack suit before it is anticipated to be used for real as early as next summer. 

Mawson, said the biggest benefit to be gained from a jet pack is speed.

Andy Mawson, Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) director of operations saw the potential for the jet suits in the Lakes and other rugged terrain covered by GNAAS when he saw footage of Browning flying in the suit online

Andy Mawson, Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) director of operations saw the potential for the jet suits in the Lakes and other rugged terrain covered by GNAAS when he saw footage of Browning flying in the suit online

GNAAS and Gravity have been in discussions for a year, culminating in the test flight two weeks ago that saw a simulated rescue at Langdale on The Band, Bowfell

GNAAS and Gravity have been in discussions for a year, culminating in the test flight two weeks ago that saw a simulated rescue at Langdale on The Band, Bowfell

‘If the idea takes off, the flying paramedic will be armed with a medical kit, with strong pain relief for walkers who may have suffered fractures, and a defibrillator for those who may have suffered a heart attack.

‘In a jet pack, what might have taken up to an hour to reach the patient may only take a few minutes, and that could mean the difference between life and death.’

He added that from personal experience carrying a medical kit up the side of a mountain is difficult – not because of the distance but the gradients involved. 

The suit was put through its paces by Browning on Langdale Pike where he flew over difficult terrain at heights of up to 20ft searching for a party of walkers

The suit was put through its paces by Browning on Langdale Pike where he flew over difficult terrain at heights of up to 20ft searching for a party of walkers

The jet suits sell for £340,000 but Browning, and his firm Gravity, says it is considering a lease arrangement with emergency services who need them

The jet suits sell for £340,000 but Browning, and his firm Gravity, says it is considering a lease arrangement with emergency services who need them

‘But with a rapid response car and this jet suit we are going to see a sea change in the way we deliver remote medicine,’ he said.

In its present form the jet pack can fly for five minutes at a time – but even with that limitation it can reduce a rescue that would take 25 minutes on foot to 90 seconds.

Mawson explained that if someone had a cardiac arrest at the top of Helvellyn they could have a defibrillator to them within eight minutes using a jet pack. 

‘As things stand now our aircraft would be first on the scene and that could take 20 to 25 minutes,’ he added.

The ambulance service stressed it was only a test flight but what looked like science fiction is soon expected to become science fact

The ambulance service stressed it was only a test flight but what looked like science fiction is soon expected to become science fact

In its present form the jet pack can fly for five minutes at a time - but even with that limitation it can reduce a rescue that would take 25 minutes on foot to 90 seconds.

In its present form the jet pack can fly for five minutes at a time – but even with that limitation it can reduce a rescue that would take 25 minutes on foot to 90 seconds.

Mawson explained that if someone had a cardiac arrest at the top of Helvellyn they could have a defibrillator to them within eight minutes using a jet pack

Mawson explained that if someone had a cardiac arrest at the top of Helvellyn they could have a defibrillator to them within eight minutes using a jet pack

‘Nobody in the world would expect as an air ambulance we could get to someone in a jet suit in a matter of minutes and get them pain relief or in the worst cases save someone’s life.’ 

The suit’s inventor Richard Browning, the founder of Gravity Industries, has been compared to Iron Man’s fictional inventor Tony Stark.

He said it is ‘very safe’ and you only go to a height where if you fell you would be able to recover, adding ‘it would not be a terrible injury’. 

The jet pack can go over 50 miles per hour if necessary and can go up to 80ft above water but above ground they don’t go over about 20ft due to the ‘hard landing’.

REAL LIFE IRON MAN: BRITISH FIRM GRAVITY CREATE A WEARABLE JET PACK

The jet pack uses five gas turbines that produce over 1,000 brake horsepower to gain flight and can reach speeds of over 55 miles per hour (89 kph).  

The patent, issued by the UK's Intellectual Property Office, covers: 'A wearable flight system with a number of propulsion assemblies including a left-hand propulsion assembly and a right-hand propulsion assembly worn on a user's hands and/or forearm'

The patent, issued by the UK’s Intellectual Property Office, covers: ‘A wearable flight system with a number of propulsion assemblies including a left-hand propulsion assembly and a right-hand propulsion assembly worn on a user’s hands and/or forearm’

Gravity Industries was awarded a patent earlier this year in what its British creators are saying is the world’s first for a ‘jet suit’. 

All components of the suits are 3D printed including the aluminium casing for the jets themselves. 

‘The jet suit works by using micro jet engines which are pretty much the same things that we see on jet aircraft,’ inventor Richard Browning explained.

‘There are two on each arm and one on the back. The way they blow so much air downwards allows you to lift off the ground.

‘All the manoeuvrability comes down to your own human balance and coordination. If you point the jets increasingly down you go up and if you flare them out you go down again.

‘It is very safe, you only go to a height where if you fell you would be able to recover, it would not be a terrible injury.’ 

Turbines: 5

Fuel: Jet A1 Kerosene, Premium Diesel

Fight Time: Up to 8 minutes 

Speed: over 60km/h

Pilot weight: Under 13 stone (85kg) wearing current Jet Suit 

It’s mission, said the Gravity Industries website, is to ‘inspire innovation and creativity in the STEM domain and encourage engagement and participation in STEM subjects prior to GCSE subject selection and beyond’.

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