Paramedics in the Lake District are testing JET PACKS that could help them reach stranded fell walkers within minutes
1st April 2022
From Iron Man to James Bond, jet suits are staple features in many popular blockbuster movies.
Now, paramedics in the Lake District are turning to the futuristic technology in the hopes of reaching stranded ramblers in remote areas more quickly and easily.
The flying suit, developed by inventor Richard Browning from Gravity Industries, is currently being tested by a few brave paramedics with The Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS), including Andy Mawson.
Mr Mawson, who is director of operations at GNAAS, described the training as 'nerve-wracking.'
While a timeline for the project remains unclear, Mr Mawson says he expects to be using the technology as early as summer 2022.
The jet suit relies on five mini jet engines, two built into units attached to each hand, and one built into a backpack.
It can reach impressive speeds of up to 85 miles/hour, with a total flight time of up to 10 minutes.
'What we're really improving here with this equipment, is the time in which we get a highly qualified paramedic to the patient's side, not getting the patient to the hospital,' GNAAS explained.
'The concept is like a paramedic on a motorbike, the solo paramedic can either treat the person on the scene and discharge them or they can arrange the appropriate ongoing care.
'In the Lake District, any incident like this is already a multi-agency response, so mountain rescue will respond and we could pass information to them to give them better information about how they should respond and what kit they need.'
In 2020, the jet suit was put through its paces at Langdale Pike, where Mr Browning flew over difficult terrain at heights of up to 20ft searching for a group of ramblers.
As part of the test run, Mr Browning was able to reach the 3,117-foot peak of the Helvellyn mountain in under eight minutes.
For comparison, it would take a helicopter three times as long, while a paramedic on foot would take at least an hour.
Last week, GNAAS announced that it has partnered with renewable energy firm Ørsted to trial the viability of jet suit paramedics for the wind industry.
Mr Mawson said: 'We think the Jet Suit paramedic will speed up the response to some hard to access patients in the Lake District, and allow us to reach more patients. But in order to know for sure, we are putting it to the test.
'The most recent trials in the area, held at the start of the month, were a great success and showed how far and how quickly the Jet Suit can reach otherwise inaccessible locations. Thanks to Ørsted, this incredible dream could become a reality.'
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