Time to take jetpacks seriously? Just ask the British Royal Navy

Jetpacks are finally finding their place in the world, starting with the military.


May 6, 2021

Source: Gravity Industries

Last week, the British navy went full-on James Bond mode and tested a jetpack in the field. The footage is truly a sight to see.

The jetpack in focus, Gravity Industries’ Daedalus, can fly for just a few minutes at a time…

… But it’s been years in the making

In 2016, 41-year-old veteran Richard Browning built the original suit at his home in Salisbury, England.

The man could be Tony Stark’s British cousin:

  • As an oil trader for BP, he quickly turned a ~$27.8k GPS ship tracking system into a ~$69.5m revenue stream.
  • One of his grandfathers was the CEO of a helicopter company, the other a wartime pilot, and his father an aeronautical engineer.

Gravity got a boost after Browning was asked to give a TED talk the same day as Elon Musk and the pope in 2017.

Tesla and Twitch investor Tim Draper invested $650k after seeing Browning fly in a parking lot — the terms were signed on the back of a $100 bill.

There are uses outside of looking like Iron Man

Gravity’s $480k+ suits could serve a variety of functions:

  • Military: The US military’s research arm (DARPA) is taking submissions for a potential $1.5m jetpack contract
  • EMS: Gravity has tested emergency rescue scenarios in the mountains of Northern England
  • Racing: Gravity has plans for a global race series with the likes of Formula One

The space is getting hotter

Pre-pandemic, Gravity’s primary revenue stream was live flight shows, where it charged up to $139k a pop. To date, the team has done 105+ events in 31 countries.

Competitors like JetPack Aviation and Zapata Racing are building the Speeder — a 150mph Star Wars-like airborne motorcycle — and the Ez-Fly flying segway.

Flying segways. What a time to be alive.

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