VIDEO: Watch rocketman Richard soaring over Hurst Castle in jet suit test
A COMPANY which builds rocket-powered jet suits has been using a New Forest monument to test its hi-tech gear.
Breathtaking footage of a rocket propelled flight above Hurst Castle has just been released by Salisbury-based company Gravity Industries.
Shot during a test flight in December 2019, the footage shows chief test pilot and company founder Richard Browning soaring over Hurst Castle and Keyhaven River in the rocket-propelled suit. Supported by land and water-based safety teams, Richard spent around two minutes circling the 450-year-old monument, reaching speeds up to 60mph.
Introducing the footage, the Gravity Industries team wrote: “Pushing into the unknown in the stunning setting of Hurst Castle in the UK. There is no rule book for transitioning from vectored thrust to semi-aerodynamic flight and we had to learn by carefully venturing into the unknown!”
The company designs, builds and flies jet suits. Founded by chief test pilot and designer Richard in March 2017, the business received a $650,000 investment from Tim and Adam Draper, who were early investors in Tesla and Skype.
Since then it has been developing the jet suit technology towards an international race series.
A Gravity Industries spokesperson said: “We have previously flown at Hurst Castle as part of a range of test flights taking place over water, typically for wing development.”
The Gravity Industries team previously made national news when Richard flew across the Solent from Hurst Castle to the Isle of Wight to deliver a letter inspired by an early 20th century idea to use rocket power to deliver mail to the island.
The idea saw German entrepreneur Gerhard Zucker launch a rocket delivery of about 600 items to Yarmouth from Pennington in 1934.
Fortunately for Islanders, the package was blown backward and crash-landed into the marshes instead.
Mr Zucker’s idea was to sell stamps – but the likelihood of his rockets landing safely sparked concerns at the time about whether he was a genuine businessman or a “scallywag” aiming to get rich quick.