Gravity Industries has partnered with the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) to test a jet suit paramedic in the Lake District.
A patented 1,050bhp jet suit enabled Gravity Industries founder and chief test pilot Richard Browning to ‘fly’ through Langdale Pikes from the valley bottom to a simulated casualty site.
The system relies on five mini jet engines, two of which are built into units attached to the pilot’s hands and one in a backpack.
According to GNAAS, the site would take around 25 minutes to reach on foot but the Gravity jet suit is able to cover the distance in 90 seconds.
The test, which was reportedly the first in the world, follows a year of discussion between Gravity and GNAAS.
Andy Mawson, director of operations and paramedic at GNAAS, identified the Lake District as a possible location for a jet suit paramedic after hearing of Gravity’s work and then studying the charity’s own call-out data.
The data showed that every month dozens of patients require assistance in the Lakes and the experiment could showcase the potential of using jet suits to get to patients quicker.
Mawson said: “Our aircraft will remain a vital part of the emergency response in this terrain, as will the fantastic mountain rescue teams. But this is about looking at supplementing those resources with something completely new.
“We think this technology could enable our team to reach some patients much quicker than ever before. In many cases this would ease the patient’s suffering. In some cases, it would save their lives.”
Following the completion of the experiment, GNAAS and Gravity will explore the next steps in its collaboration.