A UK entrepreneur takes flight by attaching miniature jet engines to his limbs

A YouTube collection of grainy video clips highlights the progress Gravity founder Richard Browning has made toward his outlandish dream over the past year. Each seems more terrifying than the last, with multiple jet engines attached to his limbs in various configurations, as he hovers a few feet from the ground.

The press material attached to the announcement heralds the oil trader turned entrepreneur as a real life Iron Man, but it’s hard to shake the feeling that you’re watching some sort of backyard mad scientist, a few moments away from the world’s most dangerous Jack Ass stunt. Browning acknowledges how downright alarming the footage of the Daedelus rig appears, but shakes off any notion that he’s actually in danger at any point during the three-and-a-half minute package.

The top speed of the current configuration isn’t any faster than a human running pace, Browning explains, and the aviation fuel was chosen specifically for its non-explosive qualities. The craft never hovers more than a few meters above the ground by design and there’s an unfortunately named dead man’s switch he has to keep pressed at all times to continue operation.

But Daedelus’ best known story involves letting his son Icarus fly too close to the sun. It’s a tough metaphor to shake off for an inventor who is strapping a bunch of jet engines to his limbs. But Browning is unperturbed. Sure, the company is planning to give the next model a more straightforward title, but the entrepreneur laughs off the Icarus comparisons. In fact, he’s even working on a miniature version for his kids that trades the jet engines for something less aggressive.

“We’re messing around and seeing if we can adapt a couple of drone fans,” he says. “We’re going to mock up something for my boys, so they’ve got a sort of quiet, cold version of the same thing that they can leap around with.”