STANDARDS

CCSS: 4.NF.C.5, 4.NF.C.6, MP4, MP5

TEKS: 4.2G, 4.2E

Up and Away

How an inventor built a jet suit that lets him fly like a superhero

Malcolm Haines/Alamy Stock Photo 

Richard Browning stands before a crowd of people. Suddenly, the roar of engines fills the air. The crowd erupts in cheers as Browning’s feet lift off the ground. He’s flying!

Is Browning a superhero? Not quite. But he can fly thanks to a suit he invented, called the Gravity Jet Suit.

The invention looks like a high-tech backpack equipped with arm sleeves. The suit includes five small jet engines. These allow Browning to fly up to 90 kilometers (56 miles) per hour. That’s almost as fast as a car on a highway!

For the past two years, Browning has been showing off his suit around the world. It’s a thrill every time, he says. “You feel this huge power at your fingertips,” says Browning. 

Richard Browning stands before a crowd of people. Suddenly, the roar of engines fills the air. The crowd erupts in cheers. Browning’s feet lift off the ground. He’s flying!

Is Browning a superhero? Not quite. But he can fly thanks to a suit he invented. It’s called the Gravity Jet Suit.

The invention looks like a high-tech backpack with sleeves. The suit includes five small jet engines. These allow Browning to fly up to 90 kilometers (56 miles) per hour. That’s almost as fast as a car on a highway!

For the past two years, Browning has been showing off his suit around the world. It’s a thrill every time, he says. “You feel this huge power at your fingertips,” says Browning. 

Browning has loved building things since he was a kid. He would take apart old TVs and toasters to learn how they worked. “That gave me a fascination for the design process,” he says. 

In 2016, Browning set out to build a sleek suit that would allow a human to fly. He knew his suit would need to produce an upward force stronger than the force of gravity pulling him to Earth. Browning started by collecting several jet engines. 

Browning tested the engines in a field near his home in England. He put on a helmet and knee pads and strapped an engine to each arm. Browning tried different ways to get airborne. He could bounce about a meter (3 feet) high—but he couldn’t stay in the air. 

Failing again and again was important, Browning says. “I tried so many things to come up with what worked the best.”

Browning has loved building things since he was a kid. He would take apart old TVs and toasters to learn how they worked. “That gave me a fascination for the design process,” he says.

In 2016, Browning set out to build a suit that would allow a human to fly. He knew his suit would need to fight the force of gravity pulling him to Earth. 

Browning started by collecting several jet engines. Browning tested the engines in a field near his home in England. He put on a helmet and knee pads. He strapped an engine to each arm. Browning tried different ways to get in the air. He could bounce about a meter (3 feet) high—but he couldn’t stay in the air. Failing again and again was important, Browning says. “I tried so many things to come up with what worked the best.”

Gravity Industries

Browning works on the jet suit in his workshop in England.

In 2017, Browning founded a company with a team of engineers called Gravity Industries. Over 11 months, the team improved the suit’s design many times. The latest version has two engines on each arm and one on the back. A custom helmet displays fuel information on the visor.

The highest Browning has flown is 30 meters (100 feet)—but only over water. The suit doesn’t have a parachute to slow the pilot’s fall if an engine fails. That’s why Browning stays closer to Earth—about 3 meters (10 feet) above the ground.

In 2017, Browning founded a company called Gravity Industries. His team has improved the suit’s design many times. The latest version has five engines. There are two on each arm and one on the back. A special helmet displays fuel information.

The highest Browning has flown is 30 meters (100 feet) high. But he only does that over water. The suit doesn’t have a parachute. That means there's nothing to slow the pilot’s fall if something goes wrong. So Browning stays about 3 meters (10 feet) high.

Gravity Industries

Jet suit pilots race each other through a course with floating obstacles.

You won’t be soaring to school in a jet suit anytime soon! Browning wants to use his invention for entertainment, not travel. He and his team are organizing a jet suit racing league. Pilots would fly through an obstacle course floating on water. 

Meanwhile, Browning is constantly improving the jet suit. With the current design, a person can fly for just five minutes before the suit runs out of fuel. So Browning and his team are trying to build one powered by electric engines. 

Browning wants his invention to encourage young people to turn their own dreams into reality. “I hope this inspires them to ask ‘What if?’” he says.

You won’t be flying to school in a jet suit anytime soon! Browning doesn't want to use his invention for travel. He'd rather use it for fun.

He and his team are planning a jet suit racing league. Pilots would fly through obstacles floating on water. Browning is also constantly improving the jet suit. Right now, a person can fly for just five minutes. After that the suit runs out of fuel. So Browning and his team are trying to build one powered by electric engines. 

Browning wants his invention to inspire young people. He hopes it encourages them to follow their dreams. “I hope this inspires them to ask ‘What if?’” he says.

A. The length of the jet engine that Browning wears on his back is 4/10 meters. Shade in this value on the grid below. 

A. The length of the jet engine that Browning wears on his back is 4/10 meters. Shade in this value on the grid below.

B. Express 4/10 as a decimal.

B. Express 4/10 as a decimal.  

C. Rewrite 4/10 as an equivalent fraction with a denominator of 100. 

C. Rewrite 4/10 as an equivalent fraction with a denominator of 100. 

A. Browning uses a 9/10 meter (m) wire to attach jet pack parts together. Express this length as a decimal.

A. Browning uses a 9/10 meter (m) wire to attach jet pack parts together. Express this length as a decimal.

B. Rewrite your answer as a decimal in the hundredths. 

B. Rewrite your answer as a decimal in the hundredths. 

Browning wears a fuel pouch that is 55/100 m long. Can you rewrite this decimal as 5.5 m? Explain why or why not.

Browning wears a fuel pouch that is 55/100 m long. Can you rewrite this decimal as 5.5 m? Explain why or why not.

A. The jet engine Browning wears on each arm is 33/100 m long. Express this length as a decimal. 

A. The jet engine Browning wears on each arm is 33/100 m long. Express this length as a decimal. 

B. Would two of these engines lined up end to end measure more than or less than 1 meter? Explain your thinking. 

B. Would two of these engines lined up end to end measure more than or less than 1 meter? Explain your thinking. 

Back to top
videos (2)
videos (2)
Skills Sheets (4)
Skills Sheets (4)
Skills Sheets (4)
Skills Sheets (4)
Lesson Plan (2)
Lesson Plan (2)