Iron Man-style flight suit inventor struggles to convince anyone it is not an April Fools’

Tom Embury-Dennis

A British inventor had built an Iron Man-style flight suit, but is struggling to convince anyone it is not an April Fools’ joke.

Richard Browning, a former Royal Marine Reserve, has created the machine using six miniature jet engines and a specially designed exoskeleton.

But many news organisations have been getting in touch to ask if it is just an incredibly convincing hoax.

“It sets people up for a bit of a fall,” Mr Browning told The Independent. “They don’t believe it, but then they see it on places like the Discovery Channel.

“The timing’s not been great, between April Fool’s and Brexit, but I can absolutely tell you it’s real."

The “Daedalus” is able to vertically take off and fly using the human body to control speed. Mr Browning said it is easily capable of flying at 200mph and an altitude of a couple of thousand feet, though he insisted he has “not got faster than a quick run”.

The suit can currently fly uninterrupted for around 10 minutes, though it depends what you are doing with the thrusters. As for safety, Mr Browning said: “I think it’s far less dangerous than driving a sports bike round country lanes. It’s not anywhere as dangerous as it looks.”

It took Mr Browning no longer than 13 months from when he bought his first miniature jet engine in February 2016. “Underneath it all is the journey, picking the target and seeing what you can achieve,” he said.

There has already been interest, and the entrepreneur hopes to have them available to the public by the end of the summer, though it will cost more than the average UK home at an eye-watering £250,000.

Gravity, the UK tech start up behind the “Daedalus”, said it had invented an “entirely new aviation category”, something they say the Civil Aviation Authority is considering. When asked, the CAA said it would be the job of the European Aviation Safety Agency to set the laws for any Iron man-style flight suits.

Mr Browning said he has already had “a few” comparisons to fictional Ironman super hero Tony Stark. : “But this is real-world aeronautical innovation. We are serious about building a world-changing technology business,” he said.

“We stand at the very beginning of what human propulsion systems will do. It’s at the same point as the mobile phone was in the early to mid 80's or the internet of the early 90's.”

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