TECH

Richard Browning, The Man Defying Gravity

It all started with an apple, 300 years ago…

Gravity
GREY Journal

One could say the link between our world’s science and technological advancements trace back to Sir Isaac Newton, and his discovery of gravity which led to his Three Laws of Motion. It’s safe to say if it weren’t for Newton and his Laws, we would have never gotten to that Einstein guy, or simple math, or even a basic understanding of astronomy and astrology.

Richard Browning flying in Gravity suit
Richard Browning flying in Gravity suit. Photo courtesy of Gravity

But was the inspiration leading to these advancements more than just Newton’s discovery? What if Einstein never questioned these laws? What if Newton never wondered why the apple fell? Luckily they had these basic thoughts, which led to great modern discoveries. Adding to the extraordinary, Richard Browning may not be as widely known as Newton or Einstein but he continues to ask that pivotal question.

So Who is This New Guy?

Richard Browning
Richard Browning. Photo: Andy Weekes

To a guy like Richard Browning of Gravity Industries, a company who’s goal is to push natural human boundaries and achieve flight, it was this simple, yet revolutionary question. What if we could do the impossible? With a tongue-in-cheek name he created his company and set sails to defy our limits. Why you may ask? “Sheer joy of taking on a supposedly near-impossible challenge.” Basic question, meet simple answer. But what he and his company have done isn’t so simple or basic; time, effort, and sacrifice have accompanied Browning throughout his journey. Browning said this idea and decision to conquer human flight wasn’t just a leap in the dark, and that every moment of his spare time was maximized by this “joy” of defeating this human limitation.

Started from the Bottom, Now We “Up” Here!

Gravity started in March 2017, and since its inception they haven’t really slowed or, “come down” from progress. So how does it work? Well, “the suit packs a punch with 5 gas turbine jet engines that generate 1050bhp and 144kg of thrust to allow vertical lift and ultimate human propulsion.” How do you steer? “That’s achieved by vectoring the arm engine thrust.” Does it run on plutonium and 1.21 gigawatts?! Nope. It runs on diesel, kerosene and of course, jet fuel. With 5 jet engines, speeds up to 50mph and pushing 120,000 RPMS and flying up to 12,000ft average flight time is only 1-3 minutes. Although its record flight time is about 4 minutes, it really depends on the weather condition; also fuel is a limiting problem.

To the Future and Beyond!

Richard Browning flying in Gravity suit over water
Richard Browning flying in Gravity suit over water

Browning says (paraphrasing) “the capacity of the tanks can have the suit flying for 10 minutes but it’ll only fly up 8 miles before having to refuel. The company started with one engine and through development, now uses five. Who’s to say in the future it won’t get better? Gravity continues to push its boundaries through constant testing and perpetual growth in the technology.

From a Small Startup, to a Powerful Lift Off.

So what’s next for Gravity? The answer is faithful to its original plans. “To augment the body and mind with a suite of patent pending technology to enable unparalleled human flight.” AKA, to defy the laws of its name. To break the boundaries of human limitations by accomplishing the dream of “an elegant partnership between mind, body and machine.” I’m sure what’s in store for Richard and Gravity Industries will truly be as revolutionary as the apple, falling from a tree. But it makes you wonder, what else could be accomplished if more people asked, “what if?”

How do you see Gravity shaping the future? Let us know down in the comments.

John Rossi
John Rossi is a young up and coming writer based out of New York City. As someone who first learned to tell a story through photography, John writes with one goal in mind: Capture the story with precision and concision, just like a photograph. Having developed interests and knowledge in many subjects, John plans on being a contributing writer to GREY Journal in many different fields.

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