How Gravity Built the World's Fastest Jet Suit

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How Gravity Built the World's Fastest Jet Suit


I'd be the first to admit that we went down this road really at the beginning for the pure joy of taking on a challenge that was largely thought to be impossible there was no textbook on how to go and do this I'm Richard browning I am founder and chief test pilot for gravity and we build thousand horsepower jet engine flying suits for the last few years browning and his team have tested every possible design and configuration they could come up with all in an effort to make this a reality the origins of the concept were all around some of the inspiration from my early life I used to fly model gliders and model aircraft my father he was an aeronautical engineer his father was a pilot so I guess it was in the blood but fulfilling his dream of flying required real physical demands too I spent some time in the Royal Marines Reserve and the time in the military and all the sports I pursued after that taught me a lot about the capability of the human mind and body

I'm no great athlete but I did learn a lot about how if you focus the human form on a challenge whether you want to be an ice skater or a gymnast or whatever it is amazing how this machine can be adapted I got to the point with this calisthenics bodyweight training where I could support my own weight in a number of different kind of unusual positions like flags for instance and I thought well if you just replace that hard structure that I'm holding onto with actually a form of thrust I can hold my body in any number of different kind of fly positions so as ludicrous as that sounded I thought well let's just go and experiment with it first he needed to figure out how to stay suspended in the air the form of thrust I landed on was gas turbines gas turbines are notorious for being very small form factors extremely aggressive one gas turbine weighs five pounds and puts out about 50 pounds of thrust so in

2016 browning started testing different components and variations and so have experimented one we went to two and then went to four and it was getting increasingly compelling but things didn't always go quite so smoothly through lots and lots of trial and error and constantly failing to be honest then learning all the time from those safe bales we got to a point where we managed to achieve a flight and that was two engines on each arm and he had engine on each leg but there were basic problems at every stage starting with the decision to have engines on each leg there's a number of interesting challenges with that model the problems included the engines being only three or four inches off the ground in terms of the exhaust thrust the violence of air coming out of those engines at about a thousand miles an hour and hitting even concrete you could see a smooth concrete surface would start to become pitted from the sheer violence of that air and yet as you move them away the the violence of velocity drops off there was also a challenge with having

The engines on the legs in that if you happen to vector your arm engines anywhere near the intakes of the lower engine we realized that you're in in ducted air is going in and that would then spike the exhaust temperature you could see a little puff of Sparks and the engine would just shut down so that was another good reason for not having engines down there and finally there's a strange human behavior we learned which is that when your feet feel the ground and Earth's left them they they almost want to pedal and Scrabble around looking for where that surface is that's not helpful when you've got 50 pounds of thrust coming off your leg and those problems led to the solution of actually moving those engines slowly up the body and then consolidating them into one and essentially that created a skirt all at the same altitude in the body which can be likened to the three legs of a tripod there's thrust coming out of each arm and then essentially a third leg coming out of the back of your body which provides that uncanny stability and that's how we learn to fly

I can set me through what the components are so you've essentially got an arm mount that your arm goes inside that aluminium 3d printed tube you've got a micro gas turbine on each side and you've got the same on the other side obviously and round the back and there's one more engine which is roughly the power of these two together the front here you've got a lot of the electronic control systems and the batteries which aren't plugged in here those batteries actually run the starter motors and the glow plugs and then on the sides you've got a couple of fuel bladders we've also got a helmet but it's especially lightweight one and the extra addition to it is a heads-up display system so inside there you can see the the lenses which actually paint over my vision the fuel and engine data that data gets to the lenses via this little device that takes a wireless feed from the suit that shows me everything to do with the engines and everything to do everything to do with the fuel to give you an idea as to how close we are to running out of fuel for instance last year browning set the world speed record for a body controlled jet suit clocking in at

32 miles per hour he says the suit can actually fly much faster and higher than they've ever attempted but for now they're playing it safe that's because even at lower speeds and altitudes there are still risks the fuel is either diesel or jet fuel they're fundamentally the same fuels Jeff will sound scary but it's the same kind of stuff the diesel it's actually not prone to forming vapor clouds it's not really explosive in fact you're really hard push to even ignite it and even if it did burn in an uncontrolled way you've certainly got probably 1015 seconds before it becomes a big fire every single time we fly we have fire extinguishers around the place in two years of doing this we've never used a fire extinction worried but I have a respect for the fire out aspect of this the heat aspect of it it's funny but if you get a hairdryer and you press it against your head you're gonna burn your head hold it like two feet away and it's cold the specific heat capacity of air is so poor that actually the heat dissipates really quickly and

I've even swiped those engines across my leg with with this you know heavy cotton flight trousers on all it did is just slightly singe the very top surface of the fabric it didn't do anything so from a heat and fire point of view it's really not a significant concern we but we managed it he's more concerned with Falls and collisions it's akin to riding a sports motorbike if you if you've done that eighteen hundred miles an hour around small twisty roads and come off that it's gonna hurt if I'm ten feet above the ground and got an engine failure I simply go downwards there is no scenario where our system can suddenly in an uncontrolled way gain height or shoot off to one side you simply drop which is not a good thing but we've always got to allow for the potential for extremely unlikely mechanical failure of one of the engines and then in which case you do you do fall that's why we keep the height fairly limited speed wise we can easily do 35 miles an hour so we've come quite a bit quicker in testing but again for most of what we do by the time you've done

35 miles an hour you've gone a long way away from probably the audience or the area you're flying so by then you're coming back again we push the limits a little bit more over water because that's a bit more forgiving if you could if you fell in it so brownies jet suit is no longer just a pipe dream but what exactly is it for they recently started custom designing and selling them but at a price tag of about four hundred and forty thousand dollars a suit it's safe to say it'll be out of reach for most but that could change as we improve the efficiency of the ease of use then there is the potential for I don't want to see mass transit straight away but but we have developed something that allows you to move human beings around in a in a completely unprecedented way one of the biggest challenges for bringing down cost designing suits that are more fuel efficient this model currently burns about a gallon of fuel a minute that's one of the reasons they're working on an electric version and a set of wings that when deployed mid-flight would generate lift more

Efficiently they're also hoping some competition went spur innovation throughout history when when two human beings have said I think mine's Boston the newest that does push the envelope so next year 2019 we are building out a race series for this yes a racing series think Formula One but with the jet suits we've already had several pilots flying the record so far is five minutes five minutes of airtime so we can have a bunch of young guys and girls go and actually racing thousand horsepower jet suits over water to keep it safe but doing something that only people have seen before really in a Marvel film and that is gonna push the boundaries like nothing I think for the immediate future it'll be entertainment it'll be inspiring people and it'll be really fueling the journey on to creating a revolution in human transport.
How Gravity Built the World's Fastest Jet Suit How Gravity Built the World's Fastest Jet Suit Reviewed by Admin on 6:37 AM Rating: 5

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