We’ve been waiting to get our hands on real life jetpacks for almost a century now. And while you can’t buy them at Costco yet, they seem to be one modest step closer to reality. Richard Browning, test pilot for the British tech company Gravity Industries and “real life Iron Man,” just set the Guinness World Record for fastest flight.
Browning made three attempts before hitting 32.02mph (51.53km/h) while flying over a lake near Lagoona Park in Reading, England recently. His last attempt even caused him to go for a dip in the water, but Browning explained that failure is just what happens “when you’re trying to push boundaries.”
“The moment the ground leaves your feet and you’re actually in the air, it’s a pleasure and a joy,” Browning told Guinness.
The earliest serious rocket belt flights of the 1950s and 1960s maxed out around that exact speed of 30mph, but none, of course, were recorded by the Guinness Book of World Records. With any luck, they will only be getting faster from here. And safer, if that’s possible.
Technically, the name of the record is Fastest Speed in a Jet-Engine Body-Controlled Power Suit. But everybody knows we’re talking about jetpacks, even if that’s not the technical word for what Browning is building and testing with his new company.
Rocket belts, power suits, whatever you call them they’re all jetpacks to us. We may not be able to buy them in stores quite yet, but that won’t stop us from dreaming. All of us George Jetson-wannabes are still waiting. And it’s great to see that the dream is still alive.