Island to host jet suit race

  • Jet Suit inventor Richard Browning performed a flyover at a private viewing at Warwick Academy (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

    Jet Suit inventor Richard Browning performed a flyover at a private viewing at Warwick Academy (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

A spectacle more typically found in science fiction films is expected to entertain residents when Bermuda hosts the world’s first event in a jet suit race series.

Gravity Industries announced today that the island will be the location for the inaugural challenge on March 21.

The company that designs, builds and flies jet suits said it “will deliver the never seen before spectacle on the island” in partnership with the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club.

Its announcement added: “The race will entertain a live audience on the ground and will also be streamed to global fans online, bringing to life scenes that would only have previously existed in the world of science fiction.”

Four launch pads will be set up next to the Hamilton Princess marina, where the race will be held. Organisers said that the hotel’s “unique location, both in the heart of Bermuda’s capital and on the water’s edge, will provide the event a stunning backdrop over Hamilton Harbour and a stylish space for the live audience”.

Pilots will record qualifying lap times during the afternoon of the event before head-to-head contests. Gravity Industries added: “The grand finale race just before sunset will see the four fastest pilots race for their podium positions and to take the win.”

The race series was devised by Richard Browning, founder of the British company and its chief test pilot, as well as the Gravity team.

The announcement said they have “relentlessly developed the Gravity Jet Suit since its launch in 2017 to now deliver incredible feats of manoeuvrability, acceleration and speed whilst at the same time being entirely intuitive to fly”.

Mr Browning wowed Warwick Academy pupils with a sky-high stunt powered by five gas-turbine jet engines last October. He spoke at the TEDx Bermuda Conference at the Fairmont Southampton later.

Mr Browning officially launched the jet suit in 2017 and doubled his previous Guinness World Speed Record last November when he hit an “unprecedented speed of 85.06mph”.

He said: “We have spent the winter months tuning the jet suit technology and are now ready to run the first of a truly spectacular global series.

“This Bermuda race comes off the back of a wonderful event for TEDx on the island in late 2019 and the immensely warm reception we received.

“It’s a real pleasure to be coming back with a great community of sponsors supporting us, not least the excellent team at the Hamilton Princess, to deliver a mind blowing spectacle of what humans and technology can achieve.

“Our jet suit race series will promise even more visceral excitement and drama as Formula One has done for decades, but updated for the 21st century ... and airborne. It’s a feast for the senses!”

Competing pilots will be drawn from the Gravity team and people who have trained as part of its “flight club”.

A VIP and sponsor event will be held at the Hamilton Princess the night before the event and a closing party will be open to the public after the finale race.

Gravity will also host a children’s STEM day, sponsored by the Bermuda Civil Aviation Authority.

Tim Morrison, the hotel’s general manager, said: “Hamilton Princess & Beach Club is delighted to be the host of the world’s first ever jet suit race.

“This promises to be an incredibly exciting event for both locals and visitors alike and we can’t wait to catch all the action from the vistas at the hotel.”

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Published Jan 31, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Jan 31, 2020 at 8:03 am)

Island to host jet suit race

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