Remember Richard Browning, the UK-based fitness freak who built himself an Iron Man-style flight suit, complete with jet thrusters on his arms and back? A suit that required absolutely incredible upper body strength to manage, since you’re constantly pushing down against the thrust with your arms? Well, he’s just muscled his way into the Guinness Book of Records for the incredibly specific “fastest speed in a body controlled jet engine powered suit” record.
The record attempt took place over a lake at Lagoona Park, in Reading, UK. Browning fired up the suit and took three attempts, with the speed being maintained over a minimum distance of 100 meters. Browning had to beat the mark of 30 mph (48 km/h) to set the record, which he did on the third run, clocking 32.02 mph (51.5 km/h) before tumbling into the water.
We couldn’t dig up exactly what previous record he was trying to break here; searching the Guinness World Records database brings up the “Fastest speed in a body controlled jet engine powered suit” record, but says there’s “no current record holder for this title.”
If you then click through to apply for the record, it tells you “The current record is 40 mile(s) per hour.” So maybe it’s some kind of placeholder thing. Which makes it odd that Browning got the record at 32 mph, and that it was decided at some point that he’d have to beat an equally arbitrary figure of 30 mph to get the record. It’s all a bit wacky.
Nonetheless, Browning skimming along the surface of the water at 32 mph still looks pretty hairy. There’s no doubt in my mind this was a fairly terrifying experience. So, all questions about the Guinness process aside, this is still a very cool achievement.
We’d love to see our good buddy David Mayman take a stab at a speed record with his JB-series jetpacks, as well as Franky Zapata with his Flyboard Air. Both these devices are controlled differently to the way Browning’s suit is, so they might fall into their own record categories, but as far as we’re concerned, the further and faster these wild men fly on their incredible devices, wrenched from the pages of science fiction and into reality, the better we are as a species for their efforts.
Check out the video of Browning’s record attempt below.