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The Future of Sport? World’s First Jet Suit Race Ready for Takeoff

If a new thing goes fast and is ridiculously dangerous, best believes humans are going to race it.

Forget F1; there’s a new sport in town ready to capture the attention of puffer vest-wearing snobs. Enter Jet Suit Racing – the ultimate spectacle for anyone who’s ever had Iron Man fantasies (and no, we’re not talking about swooning over Robert Downey Jr. at dinner, though that would be quite the treat). Going down on February 28 at the Dubai Boat Show on the Dubai Harbour, a group of competitors will soar through the skies like a superhero, with nothing but adrenaline and body rockets propelling them forward. What could go wrong?

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Gravity industries jet suit racing
Image: Gravity Industries

As per a Fox News report, pilots are set to don 1500 horsepower jet suits and engage in thrilling races on a custom-designed course. Seven or eight daredevils will vie for victory in a circuit race, putting their skill, stamina, and nerve to the ultimate test as they navigate obstacles and checkpoints, akin to a slopestyle event at the Winter Olympic Games. Contenders are judged on speed, accuracy, and style to determine the ultimate winner.

Jet suits are equipped with a total of three jet turbines nestled within a fuel tank backpack, alongside an extra set of four turbines attached to the pilot’s arms – not exactly Iron Man sleek but it’s early days. This setup allows for controlled flight simply by moving your arms and can through the air at speeds of up to 85mph (137 km/h). For safety measures, the suit typically maintains a height of 10 feet above solid ground and 13 feet above water. Additionally, the average flight duration on a full tank is around five minutes, perfect for our short attention spans.

Gravity industries jet suit racing trevor j griffis
Image: Trevor J. Griffis

The jet suit race was conceptualised by Richard Browning, the founder and chief test pilot at Gravity Industries. He’s passionate about creating a new sport that highlights human flight and hopefully inspires more innovation in the industry. At Gravity Industries, they offer all sorts of ways for people to try flying in a jet suit, like training, experiences, and even custom-made suits. Enthusiasts will be able to try it out at Skydive Dubai later this year.

“Our Gravity Race Series promises high-octane visceral excitement and drama akin to Formula One,” Browning told Fox News. “We will not be satisfied with organising a flying and racing display only; we also seek to increase the intensity of competition and excitement in the event through the flight path that includes challenges for the competitors that require manoeuvrability, accuracy and flight speed to determine the four best competitors who will then vie for the top three places and take the podium.”

Fans can witness the groundbreaking event at Dubai Harbour on February 28. For those intrigued by the idea of experiencing jet suit flight firsthand, there’s the option to undergo training or even purchase a suit. Full training days start at USD$8,500 (AUD$13,000), which is a pretty hefty whack to the wallet for most. However, who needs savings when you can flex on those poor souls still stuck on the ground, using antiquated cars or, heaven forbid, their own legs to get from A to B?