This week, a lake in Lagoona Park in Reading looked like a film set for an Iron Man comics franchise, as an amazed crowd and camera teams focused on a stuntman in a jet suit flying casually over the lake's surface. Only the flyer was neither a stuntman nor an actor, and the whole scene was, in fact, a flight demonstration intended for another Guinness World Record entry. On that day Richard Browning, 38, broke a world record for the book's ‘Fastest speed in a body controlled jet engine powered suit’ category, reaching a confirmed speed of 32.02 mph (51.53 km/h).

For this feat, he was wearing a jet suite of his invention while carrying in both hands smaller jets for additional propulsion and manoeuvring.

Royal Marines reservist and startup CEO designed and built his own jet suite

Richard Browning is CEO and chief test pilot of Gravity Industries Ltd, a startup he founded in March 2017, and a Royal Marines reservist. It cost him a total of £40,000 to design and build "Daedalus Mark 1", the jet suit he wore for the demonstration which was named by his eight-year-old son. The large backpack sized suit allows for a vertical take-off. Once airborne, it can be controlled by moving extra six miniature jet engines held in pilot's both hands. The whole suit assembly features a display screen mounted inside a motorcycle styled helmet.

This feature helps to control the flight and provides information on fuel consumption and other data. The record-breaking flight was, in fact, his third take on the Guinness World Record book, as both earlier two attempts resulted in failure as he was unable to obtain momentum sufficient for a stable flight. Filmed by the Guinness World Record team, Mr Browning successfully glided several minutes at an altitude of several metres above water, reaching the lake's opposite bank before mistiming a turn and plunging in water with no damage suffered either by him or any of onlookers.

According to Daily Mail, Mr Browning said after his flight: ‘I am delighted we have set the record, and I have no doubt that this is just the beginning.' Taking to the newspaper, the British inventor acknowledged being always inspired in his endeavour by his father, an aeronautical engineer and inventor. In an interview to Sky News he has said the suit's current version, "Daedalus Mark 1" is capable to "reach up to speeds of 200 mph" and "can fly for 10 consecutive minutes at a few thousand feet", yet for safety reasons he chose to keep the speed and altitude substantially below the maximum.