It’s official: Now you can go fast enough in a jet suit to get a whopper of a speeding ticket. In a record-smashing attempt at testing the limits of the latest version of his jet-equipped flying suit, inventor and Gravity Industries founder Richard Browning has obliterated the world record he previously set back in 2017 — and the video evidence is pretty mind-blowing.
Making like Tony Stark and suiting up himself for a run at the record, Browning strapped in on a blustery day at Britain’s Brighton Pier last month, and took off over open water for a bracing 85.06 mph, Iron Man-like view of the world below. When he landed, he’d been informed that he’d shattered his old record of 32.02 mph — almost a leisurely balloon ride by comparison.
Pretty impressive, right? Check out how the pebbles on the beach scatter under the thrust as Browning does his vertical takeoff. The 3D-printed suit nearly tripled the old record, exceeding Browning’s aim of making it into the 70 mph range. “I had hopes that we could get into the 70s here, on the day, in the conditions that were going to be whatever they were going to be,” he told C|net, “but to go, then, even 10 miles an hour even faster than I'd ever been before — couldn't be happier.”
Browning added that 85 mph is “just the beginning,” and that he can envision a future when jet suit speeds could exceed 150 mph. But getting to true Iron Man territory should be a safe and methodical process, he said. “[W]e’re going to do that in steady, sensible kind of steps. 85's pretty good for now.”
Gravity Industries began the flying suit project in 2017, naming the first version the Daedalus Mark 1, but the company’s website appears to have dropped the Daedalus moniker and now simply refers to the suit as “Jet Suit.” Browning told Guinness that “almost everything” about the suit has been improved since the older model set the first record, including the move to all-3D printing to save weight, as well as the addition of leg wings and “leg straights,” which make takeoffs more aerodynamic and speed the transition from liftoff to flight.
Browning is also planning a racing series that lets pilots show off the suit’s handling capabilities — not by “going fast in a straight line as such, but maneuvering around obstacles like a Red Bull Air Race,” he told Guinness. Maybe by then Gravity’s Jet Suit will come with a heads-up display, so F.R.I.D.A.Y. can dish out real-time commentary (and flying tips).