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Flying like Iron Man: Up Close with Richard Browning's Gravity Jet Suit!

May 10, 2020
I'm at a private airport in Los Angeles, California with Travis. I first heard about the seriousness of this undertaking in 2017, when YouTube kindly served me a TED Talk called How I Built a Jet Suit by a gentleman named Richard Browning. I followed Richard and his company.

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ly for the past two and a half years and have been invited to try out his invention for myself. I'm going to tell you all about the jet

suit

, how it works, how it flies, and what Browning's plans are for the future of his company, as you can imagine, I was incredibly excited, I had been thinking about this exact moment for over two years, I can't believing this is happening omg my brain is not processing what is actually happening sometimes dreams really do come true.
flying like iron man up close with richard browning s gravity jet suit
I can't just put on the jet soon and hope I can travel like

browning

and his crew this may take time words like epic crazy crazy come to mind when I think about what it feels like to have that

suit

on he couldn't process at the time, I'll do everything possible to describe what it was like on that platform, first you are strapped into a harness that attaches to the leash so you don't accidentally fly off or fall over, then you suit up by sliding your arms into the arm supports and strapping the rear engine to his torso, the suit is quite heavy, but hey, this literally makes him fly.
flying like iron man up close with richard browning s gravity jet suit

More Interesting Facts About,

flying like iron man up close with richard browning s gravity jet suit...

I felt rougher at this exact moment than ever before making this first attempt. the trigger worked like a gas pedal in a car or accelerator on a motorcycle meaning the more you push or turn the more power you get but that's not the case it's more like a cordless drill which has power levels adjustable it's basically off or full power but that max power level can be fine tuned

gravity

starts most customers at what is effectively 20 stops below full power to get used to the turbine turning and distributing the force as soon as i pulled the trigger i felt incredible force from all three those points the motors in my arms and the one in my back the force causes you to lean over a bit similar to standing in front of a desk or counter and leaning on it with your Arms The correct way to float is to bring the Jets up to full power and then move your arms down, thus lifting your body off the ground while leaning on the force exerted by your arms. engines but since this was my first go I didn't really know what I was doing so I kind of just jump in and feel the power and what you see the pilots here doing are signals to increase the power of the suit a push to the time.
flying like iron man up close with richard browning s gravity jet suit
I had a short chat with Richard after my first test flight and he gave me some advice. I'll be honest, I wasn't happy with round one because I hadn't really achieved a proper hover round. My focus here was to position my arms correctly to achieve a hover and this here, this hover of about six seconds made a pivotal point. moment for me feeling the tremendous power of fi five jet engines suspended me in the air for even a few seconds gave me an overwhelming feeling of joy i was very excited also made me really want to keep trying but unfortunately a tied up session It's only two minutes long because Jets burn a gallon of fuel every minute, so as it stands, even untethered flights only last about two minutes, but that doesn't stop Richard and his team from continuing to push the limits of what they can do. which is possible for the jet suit.
flying like iron man up close with richard browning s gravity jet suit
This is what a jet suit consists of and how to make it. to run it we have five gas turbines, two small jet engines on each arm and then you have a big one at the back that is burning fuel which then expands into a gas which spins the turbine which basically spews out a charge of air hot speed up like that so you get propelled in the other direction by wearing the suit and all those three together are like a tripod like a camera tripod and if you turn them on that means the full force is coming out with you it's not go ng to go anyway as you put them down you aim them down it will start going up it has a control system which is a trigger on the right arm out and a push switch on the left arm out. so you can control the maximum power of the suit and the trigger is just for you to bring the power up to maximum power for your body weight as you train the best thing we want to see you do is hold those full power engines shut down like this and you'll be fighting a bit with the push, but you should be able to stand there and stay put, so exactly like what you're doing, lower the vector and at that point you're pushing it. throttle to get it up the cool thing about this is relying on the engines throttle control to adjust your height because you're running at constant power you're putting out that thrust using your body the thrust is increasing your body that's why we have the as little equipment as possible like riding a b like you become one with it while cycling you don't really think about riding a bike it's the same with this but in much more dimensions so it's much more dynamic just

flying

throwing your arms around what it is to control a throttle this is the main control board this is what turns the hand controls into a signal that the engines can read and so they know what kind of level to go to but every engine that it's got an engine control unit behind there's one behind there one behind there and then the one on the rear internet is there as well and you've got these micro GSU ports which are for this which is our type from ground support unit this is how i can plug into any of your motors and wind up the whole suit is 3d printed this one 3d printed in aluminum which you can see there those are the shiny sections and the nylon and then we have some 3d printed steel on the back this is black coated 3d printed steel and that's actually the ballista protector ic for that rear engine same thing with these aluminum sections here you can see around the blade of the turbine we actually have the aluminum then a layer of Kevlar here and then another layer of aluminum on top so there's a starter for each turbine that kind of kicks it on and then it'll inject a little bit of fuel and then there's a glow plug and then the kind of combustion process starts and from then on it's kind of self perpetuating now let's talk about Richard Browning who is he and what is his background and why was he built a machine na voladora if she woke up one day and decided to do this take me back to what you were doing before this was a part of your life and she was there one day you woke up and said today is the day i'm going to buy a turbine to jet and i'll put this on my arm what was your life like back then and what was that decision moment to buy one of these yeah yeah good question so actually most my kind of normal run if you will , was as an oil trader.
I used to work in the City of London. I used to buy and sell cargo and move ships all over the world. nothing, you know, that exotic, it was quite an interesting and challenging job. I spent about six years in the British Royal Marine Reserve along with my day job as well and my everything. I'm giving you the ingredients here of why my whole family history was from the world of aeronautics and engineering, so a grandfather surveys all the black people who used to run the UK's leading helicopter business, my another grandfather was also a fighter pilot and a civilian pilot, and my late father was an aeronautical engineer, a maverick, a designer, and an inventor, so I think a lot of that has always been there.
I've always loved making and building and breaking things, you know, when I was a kid and it never went away. I'll probably chase the oil at the end. n work in the industry because it was interesting and challenging. I love the side of making deals and meeting interesting people all over the world, but you know it paid off pretty well, that kind of freed me up a bit over the years to gradually have the, I guess, freedom of mine. I know financial freedom as well with my family to start doing more and more interesting things and I mean interesting in the sense of when you see a challenge and you think I wonder if I could do that, like putting your Green Beret in the wrong Marines.
I think it would be great if I could do it. I'm not too sure if I can do it, but if I can, it'll be great. I did enough of those things in the first part of my life and got used to the fact. that probably four out of five times when I have one of those ideas it doesn't work out and you have to live with a failure and then every once in a while the one success in those five makes all the failures worth it that's a lot of that innovative guy of spirit i It's a rough ride but I hope the ups and downs will outweigh the frequent lows if you want so putting all that inspiration together I had the idea that you know human flight and speed and all that kind of stuff you know I love it all that, what if you could? support your own body weight like you know we're sitting on this stage right here now that stage is putting a force on our rear ends enough to keep us suspended on the stage right so if you trade stage for momentary support some form of propulsion and that propulsion instead of going up through your rear end because I'm sitting in a seat instead what if some of that was actually in your arms because you can move your arms so well that we're so good at Being aware of where our arms and hands are.
What would happen if you had part of the propulsion in your hands? If I can lean forward and you know all these gymnastic things I used to do. If you can lean forward, planche. position and do that good surely i can lean on those engines so all of that was what inspired me to do it right let's try this and i knew enough about jet engines and gas turbines to be sure two for one engine and that first test you know you've seen the TED talk with him in the footage yeah Danny ran on a rail with some kind of aluminum tube bolted on which was probably one of the biggest knowledge breakthroughs on the whole ride because Any sensible engineer would look at it on paper and walk away.
He's going to consume a ridiculous amount of fuel. He's going to get really hot. He's going to be enormously dangerous. It's going to spin like a fire hose does. that spindle spinning at almost 120,000rpm will have as much gyroscopic momentum as when you spin a bike wheel and hold the spindle you can never spit it out, so you'll need pairs of them counter-spinning and oh my gosh this is all p I won't try that though, on the other hand you never go and realize almost all of those assumptions are utter crap so that was probably the biggest step and then you saw all the steps beyond in the span of just three. years Richard went from super primitive prototypes to multiple fully functional jet suits and

gravity

is doing more than just building these jet suits

richard

has hired two test pilots Alex Wilson and Sam Rogers who helped Richard work on and design new suits the Gravity has built a successful business and made a name for themselves by doing some truly unique and extraordinary things in 2017 Richard set the Guinness World Record for fastest speed and body controlled jet engine suit reached 32 miles per hour and then , last month in November 2019 he broke his own record and hit 85 miles per hour logically speaking here the risk of injury increases dramatically as you climb higher and go faster while we are pushing the limits here. ke an attitude every risk we take has to be salvageable so jumping on a truck here or whatever the highest i want to go because he forgets engine failure then it's going to hurt enough but i'll be ok so i'm falling off a motorcycle right it's not going to be a great day i'm going to fly over this hangar i could do it but if i fail i won't get another chance right i won't be able to. keep this journey going I think it's safe to say that Richard's journey is extremely unique and has been able to continue because of how gravity operates like a business the exploratory approach that has led us to build these things that we also apply to the business side because we don't there's a rule book on how to do a business with this stuff I mean but there are obvious things like you know how to do air shows in customer experiences what ended up happening is after you've done some really high end events , we did something at ICON ik brand zuckerberg you know uy private office event and stuff we've done some ridiculous stuff open baseball games in japan done car launches in china every time we do one it tends to be in the national media in that country everyone says oh my gosh it's real it's not just something on the internet that's a bit disingenuous we get that extra boost of credibility then another wave of people come and go.
Could you come to our company? You know we have a Cisco annual meeting and this is real in a month.time, I think you know, can you come and do a keynote on the innovation journey and can you take part in a flight demo? So this is the 95th event in 30 separate countries where everyone, one of my riders, has done a little bit in what two years, yes, two and a half years and that's exactly what the gravity team was doing in California. , the company is based in England and came to this private airport to train clients from all walks of life, so what's next for the future of jet suits and gravity? as a company there's a point and I mean you're like everything you're doing right now seems like you just go with your gut learning how you go well then they'll turn into something like can I get one in ten years and fly to work in New York instead of riding an electric skateboard?
So you know the honest answer is who knows the reality where we are is we've done all these events around the world we built a huge audience we've really refined the technology so it's not shabby we trained a lot of people I mean, you've seen, you know, some people here are quite ready to break free. at the end of a day it's ridiculous how fast it is to learn humans fly so when you look at something like Formula One or IndyCar or NASCAR you see vehicles that don't have, they're not very practical at all, they don't do much for you, okay, but they entertain you enormously, inspire you and push the technology forward, so our plan right now is to build a series of races.
As we film one, we already have four, five, six, the drivers start off in a sort of system of stoplights, you know, like their drag racing lights, the lights turn green, they all immediately hit 40-50 miles per hour on water relatively. low so it's safe to pull the pylons if you think it's the Red Bull Air Race type format let's run them the plan is around the world over water and interesting places so we should have one in Bermuda and march and it's the obvious direction of graduation so you know you were doing great there so with a few more tries you'd be there on some grass like three feet above the grass where you have no ties but you know anytime if you wobble just turn on you're down right away write a few more a few pass on the grass you're ready to go on the water and then you can really do whatever you want to the point where you still don't really want to go above twenty thirty feet but you're completely free and I can join us you know we're going to race in Bermuda this progression of building these suits now your attention and focus is developing the racing series s Yeah you're doing all the guys because as soon as I say mine are faster than yours you're going to put a lot of effort and try to find ways to go faster than mine the human spirit is all about competition yes, think of all the evolution that has come from IndyCar and Formula One and I think it's a wonderful way to increase the impact that we have. we've got audiences but we're also speeding up technology now in parallel we're continuing to do events we're continuing to claim you know how to empower clients but we'll also come right back to your point maybe some technology that's actually more mainstream responsive we built an electric version of this for example , and it works the challenge is the weight of the batteries means the flight time is a bit crazy it's like seconds if battery technology improves then maybe you could have something that will go and take you know of a way similar to that right you don't need everybody to be able to hear what that is you don't need to take you very high you could just drift you know six feet above the ground you can have a human surround airbag system if there was a problem and the kind of radar parking sensor technology that sounds a ping to make sure you don't go too high or too low that alright Could be your modern scooter replacement.
How did we get there? We got there feeling the ride of something like a runner so that's where Gravity Industries is currently at they've successfully built multiple fully functional jetpacks or jetsuits as they're technically called Richard Browning he's a modern day Tony Stark he's basically a Superhero at this point it's been amazing to see the progress of the company since I first saw the TED talk two and a half years ago and again to be there in person seeing this in action is epic I think going into 2020 and beyond there. they will see gravity continue to refine the suit from a design and functionality perspective that can increase flight time they will wow the new crowd in more countries and kick start the racing series

browning

is one of the most ambitious people i have met with i have sat and his drive is truly inspiring so no matter what you are looking to do in your life just know that anything is possible even human flight to Richard and the entire gravity team thank you for having me and thank you for doing everything what you do.
I have changed my life and that of many others and I can't wait to fly again

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