The 100-meter race is usually reserved for humans in running shoes, not jet suits.
But British stuntman Richard Browning recently decided to have a crack at breaking the 100-meter record wearing his own Iron Man-like gear.
Traveling just above the ground rather than on it, Browning was aiming to beat the current fastest time of 9.58 seconds set by the retired Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt in 2009.
Of course, you might think that having five miniature airplane jet engines attached to your body would give any athlete an unfair advantage … and you’d be absolutely right. But as you’ll see from the video of the record attempt (top), the finishing time turns out to be a lot tighter than you might imagine.
On the same day, Browning also took on the challenge of beating the fastest time for the 400 meters and the pole vault. Yes, the pole vault. Watch the video to find out exactly how they worked that one out. (Hint: There was no pole involved.)
The jet suit, which Browning has been refining for a number of years now, includes two engines attached to each arm and a fifth one on the back. The current machine is powered by diesel, but Browning is also developing an electric version. Flight direction is controlled using subtle hand movements, and the kit also includes a helmet with a head-up display showing remaining fuel levels.
In an interview with Digital Trends about his work, Browning described flying the jet pack as “a bit like riding a bicycle or skiing, or one of those things where it’s just about you thinking about where you want to go and your body intuitively going there,” adding, “You’re not steering some joystick or a steering wheel.” Those curious to try it out can splash $2,800 on a one-day flight experience at Browning’s base in the U.K. Fancy owning one? That’ll set you back close to half a million bucks.
Incredibly, the entire kit fits into just two check-in suitcases, allowing Browning and his team to easily travel the world to show off the flying machine at special events. Besides the public displays, the jetpack creator also envisions the kit being used for search and rescue work or paramedic services, an endeavor that Browning demonstrated last year.