Leaving on a jetsuit? London store offers chance to hover like "Iron Man"

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Video screengrab of the "Iron Man" jet suit in London's Selfridges department store. (Reuters)
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Video screengrab of the "Iron Man" jet suit in London's Selfridges department store. (Reuters)
Updated 18 July 2018
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Leaving on a jetsuit? London store offers chance to hover like "Iron Man"

  • Running on jet fuel or diesel, it has a speed record of 32 miles per hour
  • Made up of five miniature jet engines mounted on the pilot's arms and back

LONDON: Ever fancied a dab at being "Iron Man"? Now you can. A jet suit created by a British former commodities trader has gone on sale in a London department store with a cool price tag of £340,000 ($443,428).
Made up of five miniature jet engines mounted on the pilot's arms and back, and also of electronics and 3D printed parts, the suit by Gravity Industries is reminiscent of the one worn by Robert Downey Jr as Marvel superhero "Iron Man".
Running on jet fuel or diesel, it has a speed record of 32 miles per hour (51 kph) and altitude limit of 12,000 feet (3,658 metres), though inventor Richard Browning hovers only a few metres above the ground when using it, for safety reasons.
He has taken it on demonstrations around the world and on Wednesday took flight above a small closed-off street outside luxury department store Selfridges, which is selling custom-made versions of the suit.
"This consumes about four litres a minute in the hover (position) so you can fly for three or four minutes quite easily and we have got another version - certainly on a cold day when you get more thrust, it'll fly for about nine minutes," he said.
"That's something we're looking to improve but it's the inevitable consequence of flying without wings."
The curious can see the suit at the store as well as test out a virtual reality version. Anybody who decides to buy a suit will also be offered training.
"If you watch this as an audience member you probably get exposed to more warmth than I do as the pilot," Browning said. "It's actually surprisingly calm and not very violent. It's very passive and gentle when you're flying it." ($1 = 0.7668 pounds) 


Baghdad gun shops thrive after Iraqi rethink on arms control

Updated 19 August 2018
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Baghdad gun shops thrive after Iraqi rethink on arms control

  • Shop owner sees increasing demand from women, says self-defence is main reason for buying
  • Customer says legalized gun sales will act as crime deterrent

BAGHDAD: In the middle of Baghdad’s busy commercial neighborhood of Karrada, where most retail outlets sell home appliances, shoppers can now also buy handguns and semi-automatic rifles legally for the first time in decades.
After the toppling of Saddam Hussein in 2003, illegal weapons trade flourished across the country. Looted guns from ransacked police stations and military bases were sold in streets and public areas to residents seeking to protect themselves in a state that was largely lawless.
The authorities have since been battling to curb illegal weapon sales and the government has stepped up efforts to control gun ownership through regulation.
The latest initiative came into force this summer and allows citizens to own and carry handguns, semi-automatic rifles and other assault weapons after obtaining official authorization and an identity card that also details the individual’s weapons.
Previously, gun sales were restricted to firearms for hunting and sport.
Hamza Maher opened his new gun shop in Karrada after receiving official approval from the Interior Ministry and says there has been growing demand for his wares.
“Customers are mainly men, but the number of women buyers is growing,” said Maher inside his shop, where a variety of pistols and assault rifles are on display.
“The reason for buying is self-defense, and it’s safer for citizens to buy a weapon from an authorized store instead of from an unknown source.”
Pistol prices in Maher’s shop range from $1,000 to $4,000, while Kalashnikov assault rifles can be had from as little as $400 up to $2,000, depending on the brand and manufacturing origin, he said.
Haider Al-Suhail, a tribal sheikh from Baghdad, welcomed the legalization of gun stores.
“Yes, it will decrease crime,” he said on a visit to Maher’s shop to buy assault rifles for his ranch guards. “The criminal who plans to attack others will understand that he will pay heavy price.”