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Early in 2016, Richard Browning had a vision. He wanted to build a viable anti-gravity jet-engine suit and inspire solo human flight.
Throughout 2016 he designed, built, redesigned and rebuilt his prototype flight suit – Daedalus – testing, developing and reiterating for a year before getting to the working model you see today.
His strength, perseverance and ambition to change the world are enthralling and RS is excited to be part of Richard’s incredible journey, providing tools, components and expertise to support extraordinary engineering in action.
In the first part of an exclusive interview with Richard we discussed why he decided to build the suit.
1. When did the idea to build an HPT system first come to you?
Well, to provide some background, Gravity Industries is the company and its first product is the Daedalus platform (or suit or system). We started out with the idea of Daedalus (which came from my son actually, in relation to the Greek legend of Icarus and Daedalus).
Underneath Gravity Industries the strapline is ‘human propulsion technologies’. So the idea really came about originally as human powered flight using the human mind, body and structure, which turned out to be really quite credible. We went with the idea of putting electric drone fans on to the limbs to see if we could get anywhere near the lift required to bear the weight of me – plus the ever-increasing number of batteries – and that’s pretty marginal, you can just about do it.
We then came up with the idea of jet engines which have got the power-to-weight ratio on paper, but could you control it? Could you structure it in a way that you can hold onto? And it just evolved in that kind of manner. Then, as it developed and got more credible, it got more and more exciting to think that I could actually fly around with this suit! What are its limits? Could I learn to control it relatively quickly? And it developed from there…