Aircraft

Jet Suit flight test raises prospect of flying "Iron Man" paramedics

Jet Suit flight test raises pr...
A test flight using the 1,050-hp Jet Suit took place in the Lake District in England
A test flight using the 1,050-hp Jet Suit took place in the Lake District in England
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A test flight using the 1,050-hp Jet Suit took place in the Lake District in England
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A test flight using the 1,050-hp Jet Suit took place in the Lake District in England
The Jet Suit uses five mini jet engines
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The Jet Suit uses five mini jet engines

Richard Browning's Jet Suit may have a lock on cool, but now it's looking for practical applications. Britain's Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) has collaborated with Gravity Industries on a test flight at the Langdale Pikes in the Lake District to see if the flight system could be used by paramedics in wilderness areas.

The Lake District in northwest England is one of the most beautiful areas in the British Isles but it's also one of the most rugged, with many places where getting injured could be a pleasant walk into a life-threatening emergency. To help deal with this, GNAAS operates three helicopters in the north of England that evacuate dozens of patients a month. However, even this service is limited as to where it can go so many casualties can only be reached on foot, which can waste precious time.

Based on reports about Browning's Iron Man-like technology, Andy Mawson, director of operations and paramedic at GNAAS, hit on the idea of a Jet Suit paramedic. This was followed by a year of talks between GNAAS and Gravity Industries, leading to the recent test flight.

Invented by Browning and manufactured by Gravity Industries since March 2017, the Jet Suit uses five mini jet engines (two attached to the hands and one in a backpack) that generate 1,050 horsepower and allow it to reach a top speed of 85 mph (137 km/h) and provide a flight time of up to 10 minutes.

The Jet Suit uses five mini jet engines
The Jet Suit uses five mini jet engines

That may not seem like too much air time but in the recent test where Browning acted as chief test pilot, he flew from a valley bottom to a simulated casualty site on The Band hill, near Bowfell, covering the distance in 90 seconds instead of the 25 minutes that would be needed to reach it on foot. Browning then played the part of a medic, providing simulated treatment of the casualty before calling in a medevac helicopter.

The two organizations are now working on which steps to take next in their collaborations.

"In a time in healthcare when we are exhausted with COVID and its effects, it’s important to still push the boundaries," says Mawson. "Our aircraft will remain a vital part of the emergency response in this terrain, as will the fantastic mountain rescue teams. But this is about looking at supplementing those resources with something completely new.

"We think this technology could enable our team to reach some patients much quicker than ever before. In many cases this would ease the patient’s suffering. In some cases, it would save their lives."

The video below shows the field test.

Jet Suit Paramedic

Source: GNAAS

8 comments
Jeff7
I sent this story to my nephew who is a paramedic and he fell about laughing. There is a reason why they start with a truck chassis when they build an ambulance. Even a First Response vehicle (in his case a Skoda Superb wagon) is crammed to the roof with gear. A jet pack seems like an expensive way to get a defibrillator somewhere.
Nobody
The JB-9 jetpack looks like a much better fit for this purpose. The arm mounted engines on this unit look horribly fatiguing.
michael_dowling
Notice how the noise is muted,and disguised with music,so I imagine the victim being attended to might succumb to shock upon hearing one of these things approaching.
Username
@Jeff7 This is to reach areas only accessible by helicopter. Helicopters are expensive to dispatch, this serves as a recon to assess the situation.
@nobody Agree.
@micheal If your stuck on top of a mountain with a broken leg, the noise from the rescuer is the least of your concerns.
toni24
The biggest drawback I see for this in the Pacific North West is that during fire season the take off and landing site must be cleared of combustible debris or you risk starting a new wild fire. The hand units would be better replaced by joy stick controlled outrigger units that can be controlled by an auto pilot unit
ADVENTUREMUFFINffin
looking forward to regulation to prevent these, along with dirt bikes, from ever being a means to visit nature and destroy solitude and serenity.
ljaques
While I think it might be a viable wayt to immediately get an EMT to the victim, there are several drawbacks. When he lit that thing up, I saw the flames. That was right after I saw the pic of the vic in dry brush. Eek! And it's sure to send painful debris at the vic upon landing anywhere near them. // Also, I'd expect to see the first one of those nicked the first time it was used in an urban setting. 2 minutes after the EMT gets to work, the thing disappears. // He also can't carry much in the way of an EMT bag due to weight limits on the jets.
Dirk Scott
The cost of this distributed to improving care in poor areas would save far more lives.