'Iron Man' Jet Suit Inventor Sets World Speed Record
We all fantasize about being Iron Man, but inventor Richard Browning just made that dream a reality.
Browning has built his own set of flying Iron Man armor, and he's been zipping around the sky faster than anyone has ever flown in a jet suit before.
Browning, of the town of Reading in Berkshire, UK, has spent approximately $50,000 on his Iron Man suit since construction started over two years ago. Initially, he attempted to create a flying suit by simply strapping kerosene-fueled mini turbines to his arms and legs, but in the time that's passed since his initial experiment, his suit has become increasingly complex.
Now, Browning's suit involves a series of two turbines strapped to both his arms, and two additional turbines attached at the hip, allowing for more control over which direction he flies in. Meanwhile, the rest of his suit has been built from ultra-light protective armor, and includes a sturdy helmet, a lightweight protective chestplate, and snake bite-proof walking boots.
You never know when you're going to bump into an angry snake, even when flying through the sky.
The suit, by the way, is named Daedalus, after the Greek legend of the inventor of the Minotaur's labyrinth, who also created wings that allowed him and his son to fly. Browning has wisely avoided naming the suit after Daedalus' son, as it feels like tempting fate to call a human flying machine Icarus.
All of Browning's research, experimentation, and effort has paid off—he's now entered the Guinness Book of World Records with the fastest air speed that's ever been recorded for a human being in a personal jet suit.
At a local lake in Reading, Browning took to the skies, traveling at impressive speeds of up to 32mph, earning himself the record.
Despite his record-breaking achievement, Browning has no intentions of stopping here. He says he'll continue pushing his creation faster and faster, with the expectation that it may one day be of significant use to emergency response personnel who need to get to the sight of an incident as quickly as possible.
Browning anticipates that eventually, Daedalus will be capable of moving at hundreds of miles per hour, although the wearer would have to be pretty foolhardy to attempt such speeds while dangling unsupported in the air.
"I've got this vision. It sounds audacious, but let's just stick it out there. One day maybe we can rise up above a beach, fly up and down the coastline of it, rise up a bit higher, with some of the safety kit we're working on to make this achievable," said Browning.
In science fiction, the only kinds of inventors foolhardy to test their creations themselves end up turning into Spider-Man supervillains, but thus far Browning has resisted the urge to paint his suit a garish color and start robbing banks.
Instead, his company, ironically named Gravity, has recently completed a funding drive that's seen $650,000 in investments pledged to the future of human flight.
While this device is still a long way away from being finished, it seems as if Browning may actually achieve his crazy dream of becoming a real-life Tony Stark.
Unlike the Marvel superhero, though, Browning isn't planning to keep his life-changing device to himself, so one day, in the distant future, we might all get the chance to live the Iron Man fantasy that we've always secretly been obsessing over.