Iron Man Gets Real

British inventor test drives suit for human-powered flight.


I loved the movie Iron Man--mostly because I love Robert Downey Jr., but also because, that suit!

A British startup is racing to make my hero’s sci-fi flight suit at reality, for anyone, that is, who’s brave enough to test drive human flight at speeds of up to 100 mph and who can dole out up to $250,000 for the innovation. The company, called Gravity, has developed the Daedalus human propulsion system, complete with miniaturized jet engines and a customized exoskeleton, and is pitching its work as the start of a new era in aviation, according to an article on

The team, which developed the suit over the course of last year, put together six kerosene-fueled micro gas turbines to give the suit lift-off, the article said, although the final design is a bit different, housing two engines in the back that work in concert with another pair attached to each arm. Another standout feature, according to the write up, is a heads-up display that will relay fuel information through a WiFi connection to anyone crazy enough to take the suit for a spin.

The creator, Richard Browning, says operators of the suit must be physically fit in order to properly steer it and direct flight. The team has done some initial testing, the article said, starting with assisted jumps and graduating to some limited flights.

Break out the popcorn. The first test flight will likely be quite a ride.

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