In the United Kingdom, mountain rescuers are very interested in the flying suit from Gravity Industries, which could allow them to come to the aid of people in danger more quickly.
Using jetpacks in addition to helicopters to rescue injured people in remote areas is the idea of the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS). This rescue service in the United Kingdom called on the company Gravity Industries and its founder, Richard Browning, to test a flying suit in the heart of the Lake District National Park in England. On a video broadcast by the rescuers, Mr. Browning can be seen flying over meadows, then mountains and finally lakes at altitude, with disconcerting ease. Two years ago, the latter explained to us that his suit slipped on in the same way as a backpack. “It is made up of five mini-jets, two controlled by each arm and another installed behind a backbone, which exert a total thrust of 144 kilos.Under the helmet (optional), an HTC Vive virtual reality mask allows you to view the fuel level and offers you some benchmarks to keep your balance, ”he explained.
The wilderness trial apparently won over Andy Mawson, director of operations and paramedic at GNAAS. The distance that rescuers usually walk in 30 minutes on foot was covered by the flying man in… 90 seconds. “Our devices will remain an essential part of the emergency response on this terrain, as will the fantastic mountain rescue teams. But it is a question of seeking to supplement these devices with something completely new. We believe that this technology could allow our team to reach some patients much faster. In many cases, it could ease the suffering of the patient. And in others, it could save his life, ”he said after the test.
A rescuer ready in 2 minutes!
If a partnership materializes, the GNAAS would like its rescuers to be trained by Gravity Industries so that they can be operational at any time. The aircraft is not subject to the rules of the Civil Aviation Authority of the United Kingdom, which means that no license is required to fly it. According to GNAAS, it would only take two minutes to put on the suit and go into action. “The suit has a carrying capacity of around 10 to 15 kg, which is the weight of the full backpack that we currently use, which allows us to carry a kit including a defibrillator”, reads a note from the British service.
Talks are underway between the two parties. “We are still awaiting financial details and logistical resources before we can reach operational status. It is too early to set a date for commissioning, ”said GNAAS.