A pioneering British jet suit company is giving super-powers to paramedics for their search and rescue missions in the remote Lake District of northern England.
Gravity Industries has been testing the jet suit with the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS).
The maiden voyage two years ago saw Gravity Industries founder and Chief Test Pilot Richard Browning fly up from the valley bottom to a simulated casualty site that would take around 25 minutes to reach by foot. The Gravity Jet Suit was able to cover that distance in just 90 seconds.
In May, Jamie Walsh had just six days of training before he strapped himself into the 3D printed device and soared across the mountainous region of Helvellyn in foggy weather that would have grounded helicopter pilots.
With dozens of patient emergencies every month at the Lakes, Andy Mawson, director of operations and a paramedic at GNAAS could see the need.
“What we didn’t know for sure is how this would work in practice. Well, we’ve seen it now and it is, quite honestly, awesome.”
The tests this year have demonstrated the huge potential of utilizing Jet Suits to deliver critical care services.
“Our aircraft will remain a vital part of the emergency response in this terrain,” said Browning, who trained several paramedics to use the jet packs. “In some cases, it would save their lives.”
The Gravity Jet Suit is already on its third iteration, and includes two miniature jet turbines on each arm, and a fifth engine housed in a backpack. Priced at $440,000, the device is reportedly capable of creating over 300 pounds of thrust with 1,050 brake horsepower.
“We are just scratching the surface in terms of what is possible to achieve with our technology. Emergency response is one of the areas,” says Browning, who was formerly a Royal Marines reservist.
With the test complete, Gravity Industries, which was founded in 2017, is now exploring the next steps for collaborating with GNAAS.
Watch the video and meet the founder…