Aircraft

Gravity Industries Jet Suit takes part in NATO mountain rescue exercise

Gravity Industries Jet Suit ta...
Richard Browning with blood plasma in tow on his way to an "injured soldier"
Richard Browning with blood plasma in tow on his way to an "injured soldier"
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Richard Browning with blood plasma in tow on his way to an "injured soldier"
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Richard Browning with blood plasma in tow on his way to an "injured soldier"
The Jet Suit being demonstrated at a previous event
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The Jet Suit being demonstrated at a previous event
The Jet Suit has been flown at a speed of up to 85.06 mph (136.89 km/h)
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The Jet Suit has been flown at a speed of up to 85.06 mph (136.89 km/h)
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In addition to military applications, Gravity Industries believes jet suits hold potential for search and rescue missions in harsh terrain. Having already carried out flights of its Jet Suit in separate rescue and military demonstrations, the UK company has combined the two as part of a NATO Mountain Warfare Rescue Exercise.

Powered by five gas turbine engines generating 1,050 bhp and 318 lb (144 kg) of thrust, the Jet Suit has a range of about 3 miles (5 km) and a flight time measured in minutes – up to four, but typically one to three depending on conditions.

Those are severe limitations, but the advantages of the suit are its speed of over 50 mph (80 km/h) and its ability to lift a pilot vertically to altitudes of up to 12,000 ft (3,658 m) and land on a small footprint – capabilities that should be useful when it comes to quickly getting aid to an injured person in mountainous terrain.

And that’s just what the flight conducted late last year in Slovenia as part of the NATO Mountain Warfare Rescue Exercise was designed to demonstrate. Gravity Industries Founder and Chief Test Pilot Richard Browning donned the Jet Suit and delivered blood plasma to an "injured" soldier who had been rescued from a gorge in the Slovenian mountains as part of the exercise.

The Jet Suit has been flown at a speed of up to 85.06 mph (136.89 km/h)
The Jet Suit has been flown at a speed of up to 85.06 mph (136.89 km/h)

Although Browning piloted the suit along a track to minimize risk for the exercise, the suit is obviously equipped for crossing over any terrain, which is something that may be of benefit to those responding to emergencies in difficult-to-access locations. Of course, that would mean training up paramedics to fly one of these things or, conversely, giving a pilot medical training.

Which leads us to the question – in the case of the NATO exercise, wouldn’t it have been simpler and safer to just have a drone deliver the plasma? The answer must surely be, yes. So is the Jet Suit a technology in search of a practical application? The fact is people have always yearned to take to the skies, and since a jet suit is the most visceral and independent example of powered human flight, maybe it doesn't need a practical application. On that note, the company is teasing the prospect of an upcoming Jet Suit race series.

In the meantime, check out Browning and his Jet Suit doing their thing in the NATO exercise in the video below.

NATO Mountain Warfare Rescue Ex Slovenia

Source: Gravity Industries

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13 comments
13 comments
Oirinth
While I love the technology, this seems little more than a rather tacky publicity stunt. As the article said, its not a practical use for the jet suit. The problem is I cant see any practical use for it other than extreme sports.

First responder: range is too limited, by the time its transported, set up and ready to fly alternatives would have been available ( drone, helicopter or walking )
Search and Rescue: range/flight time to low, amount of concentration needed to fly needs little left for searching
military uses in combat: nope, just no, refer to dictionary definition of "Skeet"
Oirinth
p.s: I still want one
David
Drones on their own are not suitable because the receiving personnel may not be qualified to administer required treatment. A more flexible, comprehensive approach would be to use drones to carry medication and related equipment, and have medics trained to fly the jet suit. Even better, the drones could be slaved to the jet suit to fly and land in formation with the jet-powered medics.
doc
Where's the electric version !
EH
With a micro-turboshaft instead of jets, 1/10th the power (100 hp), and a 6 ft diameter helicopter (or 4x 3ft), one could get 450 lb thrust and at least 10 times the range. (More with recovery of exhaust heat into incoming air.)
guzmanchinky
orinth nailed it with BOTH comments! :)
Bob Flint
Your kidding right, at 1:36 to 1:41 seconds he landed and delivered the plasma, & small package that should have at least been with the recue lead, or other dozen of the team members setting up the recovery ropes.
Aermaco
There is no doubt that flying suits will keep evolving for all needed uses.
For rescue, the milage and energy use are moot when it's all about saving lives.
However, to be functionally successful, small drones slaved to a suit are a good idea but the jetpack really needs a low-energy delivery to the site for the cliff climbing &or gorge descending rescuer.

This is a beautiful thing to see evolving flying suits and it needs to get beyond flame throwers sooner than later even if a niche may remain for their unique hot capabilities. Hey, forest fire break burn starters would do great covering rough terrain fast with good escape capability.
Bob809
Guy's, guy's guy's. It's just a demonstration. I get that the team rescuing the injured soldier (in this case) should have more than enough Plasma for one patient, but I can see more benefits for 'mountain troops' than medical help. Loud as the jet pack is, a mountain could now be a minor obstacle to troops pressing an attack, or even for just one sniper team to provide cover for the main 'event.' Putting a small fire team in what was once considered an impossible spot can now be achieved. Expensive proposition yes, but for some missions when you have to simply have the best equipment, this could well be a huge game changer.
dan
@EH you direct surely in the right direction, bigger rotor = more efficient. but for these guys flexibility in operations is surely more important than being eco-friendly. best efficiency would be one very large rotor. but then the superman feeling would be lost... ;-(
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