Now you can buy a real life “Iron Man” suit for $450,000
LONDON — It’s not a sight you would expect to see on the streets of London, but few are more blown away by the jet suit than the man who invented it, Richard Browning.
“There’s that moment where you’re off the ground, and suddenly it’s quite liberating,” he said. “It’s almost like that dream most people seem to have around being able to just think somewhere and fly there.”
A military man who served with the Royal Marines, 39-year-old Browning quit his day job as an oil trader to focus full time on taking flight. The suit can reach speeds of 32 mph, and an altitude of 12,000 feet. It’s made up of five mini jet engines — one on the back and two on each arm — that control direction.
“In a strange way, it’s a bit like riding a bike,” Browning said.
He swears he didn’t set out to copy the suit made famous in “Iron Man,” but he admits there were some “wonderful parallels.”
“Actually what the guys had done, to think up that character and then do all the CGI around it, was actually quite accurate,” he said.
The dream of building a jet suit is nothing new, but never has it been so real. You can now buy one, if you’ve got a spare $450,000 rattling around in your pocket. The suit is even on display at the Selfridges department store, alongside a virtual reality version showing how it works.
At the moment, it’s just for fun. But Browning says he foresees some practical uses in the future.
“For niche military applications and niche search and rescue applications — it turns out we do have some capability that they didn’t think was possible,” Browning said.
For now, the fuel pack limits the suit to only three or four minutes of flight. But as the engines become more efficient, the only direction this jet suit is headed is up.
Learn more about Gravity, Richard Browning’s company.
© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.