Have you ever wanted to soar through the air in an Iron Man-style suit like a real-life superhero? Do you have the financial resources of a real-life Tony Stark to go along with it? If so, you may want to queue up (or get your butler to do so on your behalf) to pay the sum of $ 446,000 for your very own version of British inventor Richard Browning’s jet-propelled suit, which recently went on sale at high-end London-based department store Selfridges.
Comprising five jet engines, a 3D-printed structure, and a head-up display for showing your remaining fuel levels, it’s the closest you’ll get to life as a true comic book hero — supervillains not included.
We previously wrote about Gravity industries’ flying exosuit project at the start of last year. However, inventor Richard Browning noted that plenty of upgrades have happened since then. “A huge amount of modifications have happened since 2017, learned from flying at events,” he told Digital Trends. “We consolidated the two rear engines into one large one, improved efficiency and power, made it smaller, and changed the geometry of the arm mount in a way that’s made a dramatic difference to stability.”
For a look at the finished market-ready suit, check out the B-roll footage below. While it’s not a slickly edited video package, it gives you some idea of how the suit functions in the real world:
Browning said that no license is needed to fly the suit (although, if you’re going to spend your kid’s college fund, you probably need written permission from your spouse), and that training takes just a few minutes. “We’ve had a pilot with five minutes’ training who managed to hover untethered very happily,” he continued. “A lot does depend on fitness level and aptitude, but you don’t have to be a superhero or superhuman to fly it. It taps into an innate human balancing ability in a really uncanny way, so it’s extremely accessible.”
As to whether it will ever be accessible to those of us who haven’t founded startups worth seven figures and can’t afford to eat gold-encrusted lobster for lunch? Don’t worry: You haven’t been forgotten about. “Do we afford to make more affordable ones?” Browning said. “Inevitably, the cost will come down. We’re also working on an electric version which will be vastly more accessible. So watch this space.”
But maybe resign yourself to commuting the old-fashioned way for the time being.