LONDON – Ever fancied a dab at being “Iron Man”? Now you can. A jet-suit created by a British former commodities trader has gone on sale in a London department store with a cool price tag of £340,000 ($446,522).
Made up of five miniature jet engines mounted on the pilot’s arms and back, and also of electronics and 3D printed parts, the suit by Gravity Industries is reminiscent of the one worn by Robert Downey Jr. as Marvel superhero “Iron Man.”
Running on jet fuel or diesel, it has a speed record of 32 miles per hour (51 kph) and altitude limit of 12,000 feet (3,658 meters), though inventor Richard Browning hovers only a few meters above the ground when using it, for safety reasons.
He has taken it on demonstrations around the world and on Wednesday took flight above a small closed-off street outside luxury department store Selfridges, which is selling custom-made versions of the suit.
“This consumes about four liters a minute in the hover (position) so you can fly for three or four minutes quite easily and we have got another version — certainly on a cold day when you get more thrust, it’ll fly for about nine minutes,” he said.
“That’s something we’re looking to improve but it’s the inevitable consequence of flying without wings.”
The curious can see the suit at the store as well as test out a virtual reality version. Anybody who decides to buy a suit will also be offered training.
“If you watch this as an audience member you probably get exposed to more warmth than I do as the pilot,” Browning said. “It’s actually surprisingly calm and not very violent. It’s very passive and gentle when you’re flying it.”