Daedalus Jet Suit Takes to the Skies

[Richard Browning] wants to fly like Daedalus. To us, it looks a bit more like Iron Man. [Browning] is working on project Daedalus, a flight suit powered by six jet engines. These turbines are exactly the type one would find on large, fast, and expensive R/C planes. Some of this is documented on his YouTube channel, Gravity Industries, though RedBull has also gotten involved and have a video of their own that you can check out after the break.

The project started last year in [Browning’s] garage. He strapped a jet to an old washing machine to test its thrust. The jet nearly flipped the machine over, so he knew he would have enough power to fly. The suit started with a turbine strapped to each arm. Then it became two on each arm. This was enough for moonlike hops, but not enough for actual flight. Strapping an engine to each leg worked but was rather hard to control. The current configuration features two turbines per arm, and two on a backpack.

The whole setup is quite similar to [Frank Zapata]’s Flyboard Air, with one key difference – [Browning] is supporting two thirds of his weight with his hands. The effect is similar to supporting oneself on gymnastic rings, which is part of his extreme physical training regimen.

The arm-mounted jets allow quite a bit of control, but at a safety cost. Jet exhaust typically is several hundred degrees Celcius. Enough to make the turbine exhaust nozzles glow dull red. If [Browning] crosses his body with that exhaust, he’s going to have a bad day. Most of the Daedalus suit flights have only been a couple of feet in the air. We hope [Browning] doesn’t push the envelope there too much. He’s flying over concrete, which is a lot less forgiving than [Frank Zapata’s] water crossings.

Since much of the coverage on this project started right around April 1, some people have been wondering if it is actually a hoax. We’re pretty convinced this is a real jet suit. Practical? Nope. Safe? Hell no. But yes, this is the real deal.

 

38 thoughts on “Daedalus Jet Suit Takes to the Skies

  1. I don’t understand why this guy (and the hacksmith on YouTube I believe?) Are still pursuing this setup. Zapata’s vehicle is more stable and don’t require that the pilot have an insane amount of upper body strength. Also the penalty for failure on zapata’s machine seems way less than this thing. Your arm gives out and you get third degree burns across half your body? Who’s going for that? Plus the wingsuit guys have already achieved flight with a single jet and a wing, just no vtol or hovering.

    1. Are you referring to Yves Rossy? The other reference I found was to a guy named Visa Parviainen.
      Rossy is running 4 engines and Parviainen is running 2.
      I know Rossy’s CF wing produces enough lift with that much thrust that he can gain altitude, I don’t know much about Parviainen’s setup.

      But I think from both of these guys’ work show the limitations of these jets so we can better understand Browning’s jetsuit and whether it might be a hoax.

  2. 66% of thrust dedicated to (directional and attitude) control sounds well outside of safe boundaries. Overcontrol contributing to complete loss of control is a common cause for crash of all types of flight vehicles. Pilot induced oscillations will teach him this… hopefully early, and hopefully at low altitude, and hopefully at low airspeed. That’s too much hope to hope for. So I hope he gets an early lesson, and hope it’s a lesser one.

    1. As I recall there were some scenes in Iron Man about this very issue…:-) There’s a reason Tony made the ‘armor’ part of his suit before the ‘flying’ part. Mostly this suit looks like a fabulous way of simultaneously crashing at high speed, while attempting to rip your arms off and burning yourself seriously.

  3. I professionally remove wire rigs that you would use to fake something like this, and if this guy isnt on a wire rig, I will eat a sock.

    The number 1 giveaway is that the weight is always being supported in one place, usually the hips. This means you dont see any weight on his arms in this instance. The rigs almost always have two pick points on either hip that go up to a spreader bar thing, which is why you never see nearly as much ‘roll’ as you would expect from something like this. You can tell the movements are constrained and he doesnt have full dof. The last giveaway is that his height stays waaay to constant. (because the burly grip holding him in the air cant really jiggle him up and down fast enough. Just compare how this flight looks to say a large rc heli or quad to see that hovering takes a lot more adjustments and has way more inherent wiggle that anyone can fake with a crane and some ropes.

    that doesn’t even get into things like… Why are all the shots pointed at the ground? How come there arn’t any shots longer than a second or two?

    I call bs.

          1. I get that… but single step the last few frames before the change in shot and watch his shadow at 3:06ish. It looks wierd. Also, no hot air coming out of those jets.

    1. Please don’t remove the wiring of this guy, otherwise he will fall to the ground. :-)

      Probably you mean “remove in the video footage”. How is this really done? Painting that stuff out frame by frame like retouches?

      1. I wish i could cut this guys wires in real life, but yeah in video.

        The general technique is:
        1. make a clean still frame version of the background behind the guy. (photoshop clone bush style, tho not usually that program)
        2. rotoscope the wire to remove and any parts of the guy you want to hold out from the removal. (can get frame by framey but mostly is just keyframe animation of splines)
        3. track the still frame into the video and composite it on top of the plate holding it out with the roto.
        4. if the wire goes over the guy in the fg (it always does because for some reason stunt riggers only own like 2″ think black nylon ropes) then you have to start doing steps 1-3 again but for ‘patches’ of the foreground guy. So like part of an arm or a leg, or a face. that might not work for the whole frame range but you create lots of them and mix em all together to build up a clean version across the whole shot.
        5. If the fg guy is moving around too much that nothing stays consistent enough to do patches then you break out the frame by frame paint fixing. Which is extra hard because you need to make sure it doesn’t ‘boil’ when it plays back because of small changes across frames.
        6. you know you are done when you switch quickly between the FG and the BG and it looks like the wire magically disappears w/o anything else jumping (too much)

        That’s why you don’t see any longish shots of this it’s not especially difficult work to do, but it is very time consuming. Also idk if they even did steps 1-3 on this guy, @3:07 it looks more like they used a cheap shitty ‘wireremoval’ plugin that leaves blurry edges. but the video quality is so bad its hard to tell.

        Next time you watch any movie with people getting tossed about just imagine 3-5 wires on every single person….

  4. oh yeah, lets definitely strap some rockets to our arms! that’s a great idea! except for, ya know, the possibility that it might rip your arms off, burn your hands, and requires a ton of strength to control…

  5. These turbines will not rip your arms off and the HANDS are protected from burns quite good by the metal shields – which is not true for the rest of his body.
    If I would try such a thing, I would rig a bar to a belt/harness like construction to which the turbines are attached, which supports the main part of my weight.

  6. Last Friday, he was shown on the german tv program “Galileo”.

    He is using Jetcat P220-RXi Turbine Engine, one cost about 4000€

    Specifications:
    Thrust: 22Kg
    Weight: 1850g
    Diameter: 116,8mm
    Length: 309mm
    RPM range: 35000 – 117000 RP/min
    Exhaust: 480-750 C
    Fuel: Jet A1, 1-K kerosene
    Lubrication: approximately 5% synthetic Oil in the fuel
    Fuel consumpsion: 725ml/min to the highest RPM
    Maintenance interval: 50 Hours

  7. Wasnt this like, an ‘april fools’ joke sponsored by redbull? Nobody in their right mind will want to do this, this is like 10 times more dangerous then those actual jetpacks from old age.

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