Time to break out the cheque book, chums! The cutting-edge curio you’ve been eyeing is finally on sale. We speak, of course, of the sick Iron Man jet pack, created by the 39-year-old studly inventor and former Royal Marine reservist Richard Browning. One has reportedly been sold already — but to whom?
The 1050 brake-horsepower Jet Suit is now available at Selfridges department store in London for a modest £340,000 (or $445,492.82 USD as of this writing). Citing Gravity, the company that Browning created to market his invention, CNN reports that “a high profile, as-yet-unnamed client has nabbed the first one” of these real-life Iron Man suites.
We have questions, mainly about the identity about this yet unidentified high profile buyer with a penchant for jet packs.
So let’s break this down.
The most obvious guess is probably Richard Branson, the billionaire balloon pilot and extreme sports enthusiast whose jet setting persona would certainly seem to ahem suit the profile (we’ve reached out to Branson, himself, via email — as well as two press contacts for Virgin and Virgin Media — and will update this post if and when they reply.)
Another possible theory that’s impossible to rule out? Mission Impossible: Fallout star Tom Cruise, could also make sense for a couple reasons. First of all, Gravity posted a photo of Cruise with Browning to Instagram last February. A real life jet pack also seems like exactly the kind of purchase that a 56-year-old masochist with an estimated net worth $570 million and vertiginously high Operating Thetan level would buy for himself (we also reached out to representatives for Cruise and will update if we hear back).
While Iron Man was not specifically on his mind when he first conceived of the device, Browning does admit that it was born from a desire to pull off some luxe cosplay. As he told CNN, “This journey started, really, as an exercise in proving that it was possible to do something formerly only seen in the realms of superhero, comic book films.”
How Does the “Ironman Jetpack” Actually Work?
The jet pack suit consists of five small jet engines, two flanking each forearm and hand, and one strapped to the lower back; as well as a 3D-printed exoskeleton and a helmet with a fuel-use display projected from the visor. (Browning called it the “Daedalus suit” after the inventor father of Icarus in Greek mythology.)
Browning says that, with some training (mandatory for serious prospective buyers), the suit can travel at 32 miles per hour and reach heights of 12,000 feet. He says that it’s remarkably easy to control and that, if you’re capable of running in an uneven field, you would be capable of intuitively steering the device. It’s ultimately the physical stresses on the body that are the limiting factor. Browning said at a TED event last year that staying in shape to pilot the vehicle requires maintaining the exercise regimen he picked up as a Royal Marines reservist.
This is maybe the biggest clue as to who bought the first commercial Daedalus suit: it can’t just be any upper class tosser; it has to be one who’s fit. (Respect.)
Commoners, proles, and scrubbers unable to afford the suit’s hefty price tag are still permitted to behold it up close at Selfridges. They can also experience its flight via the store’s virtual reality display, much in the same way that Robert Downey Jr. experiences the cinematic fantasy that he is Iron Man without actually flying around.
That said: “If you see something, say something.” Now is your time to discreetly deliver the goods, if you or someone you know works at Selfridges’ London department store, please email, firstname.lastname@example.org, or slide into my DMs on Twitter.