The 'world's first jet suit paramedic' unveiled in the Lake District by the GNAAS

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The 'world's first jet suit paramedic' unveiled in the Lake District by the GNAAS

Post by EnterpriseSovereign » 2020-09-29 01:56pm

It is thought to be the world's first jet suit paramedic.

A collaboration between Gravity Industries and the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) resulted in a test flight in the Lake District.

The trial at the Langdale Pikes saw Chief Test Pilot Richard Browning fly from the valley bottom to a simulated casualty site on The Band, near Bowfell.

The simulated casualty site would take around 25 minutes to reach by foot, but in the jet suit was reached in just 90 seconds.

Andy Mawson, director of operations and paramedic at GNAAS, identified the Lakes as a possible location for a jet suit paramedic.

He said: “We could see the need. What we didn’t know for sure is how this would work in practice. Well we’ve seen it now and it is, quite honestly, awesome.”

Mr Mawson said the exercise had demonstrated the huge potential of utilising jet suits to deliver critical care services.

He added: “In a time in healthcare when we are exhausted with COVID and its effects, it’s important to still push the boundaries.

Our aircraft will remain a vital part of the emergency response in this terrain, as will the fantastic mountain rescue teams. But this is about looking at supplementing those resources with something completely new.
Andy Mawson, GNAAS

“We think this technology could enable our team to reach some patients much quicker than ever before. In many cases this would ease the patient’s suffering. In some cases, it would save their lives.”

Richard Browning, who is also founder of Gravity Industries, added: “It was wonderful to be invited to explore the capabilities of the Gravity Jet Suit in an emergency response simulation and work alongside the team at GNAAS. We are just scratching the surface in terms of what is possible to achieve with our technology."

He also explained how 'terrain hugging' helps to keep the jet suit paramedic safe
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Re: The 'world's first jet suit paramedic' unveiled in the Lake District by the GNAAS

Post by bilateralrope » 2020-09-30 01:05am

I note that the article makes no mention of helicopters. That's too important a comparison to leave unmentioned.

I also note that the video seemed to be taken in calm conditions. How fast can the wind get before it's unsafe to operate this jet suit ?
He also explained how 'terrain hugging' helps to keep the jet suit paramedic safe
Sounds like the paramedic needs a very precise location of the casualty, because low altitude limits visibility.

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Re: The 'world's first jet suit paramedic' unveiled in the Lake District by the GNAAS

Post by Broomstick » 2020-09-30 07:01am

First - I want one. I want to do this. Damn my lack of money!
bilateralrope wrote:
2020-09-30 01:05am
I note that the article makes no mention of helicopters. That's too important a comparison to leave unmentioned.
A little googling told me that those jet suits are about a half million USD each - which is comparable to purchasing a Robinson 44 helicopter, but most rescue services run more expensive rotorcraft these days so I'm assuming the jet suit is going to be cheaper. Maintenance costs on the jet suit may well be lower, with it having fewer moving parts. Both the chopper and the suit take some dedicated training to learn how to use safely.

I think some of the suit's advantages would be:
- storable in a smaller space
- deployable in a smaller space - it clearly does not require as much room to run up and deploy, so less worry about obstacles around and/or overhead
- landable in a smaller space - you don't have to worry about rotor clearance

bilateralrope wrote:
2020-09-30 01:05am
I also note that the video seemed to be taken in calm conditions. How fast can the wind get before it's unsafe to operate this jet suit ?
Good question.

On the flat, based on my experience with ultralights, I'm going to guess around 25-30 kph. That is very much a guess and I'm being very generous so it might be lower.

On hills/mountains you have issues with aircurrents and "mountain waves". You know how when water in a river goes over rocks you get white water and rapids? Like that - only you can't see it. It's very much there, and if you're careless it can slam you down hard onto the terrain. It means a wind that is OK on the flat could be hazardous on rumpled terrain. When I've flown around Chicago I have taken a small plane up in winds approaching 40 kph if they were steady, the few times I've flown in mountains my limit was half that. Steady winds are easier to deal with, but any sort of building/hill/whatever is like a rock in a river bed - it causes turbulence.

I have no idea what the normal conditions are like in this "Lake District" area.

A larger, heavier aircraft can deal with more wind and more turbulence, up to a point. I'm also not conversant with the details of how rotorcraft, much less a jetsuit, deals with wind and gusts.

If a rotorcraft pilot or jetsuit flyer comes into this thread do take their statements over mine.
He also explained how 'terrain hugging' helps to keep the jet suit paramedic safe

Sounds like the paramedic needs a very precise location of the casualty, because low altitude limits visibility.
That's why we have grid systems, maps and GPS.

Not quite sure how the jetsuit guy handles navigation, given his hands are very much preoccupied with flying. Heads up display? Plots a course before take-off and holds it in his head? Given they're not going that far and would be navigating with the Mark I eyeball, utilizing visual landmarks would work.

They didn't show the complete deployment and run up sequence in any video I could find on line so, again, I'm only guessing, but it may be quicker and less complicated than a helicopter start-up so they'd get in the air sooner - there is an advantage to getting a guy to the scene while the air rescue is starting up.

Because the "landing gear" is human legs and there's not a rotordisk to worry about you could fly to and land in locations a helicopter can't, and it would give you a person on location to help transfer someone ill or injured into a hovering helicopter.

There is the issue of fuel limitations. It's jet-powered and jets suck a lot of fuel, and the tank for this thing is something like 30 liters which isn't that much. They didn't mention the burn rate, but my wild ass guess would be 5-10 minutes at most before you have to refuel. Fine for inserting a paramedic into a relatively nearby location.

I foresee a possible problem using this in some locations. There is a wide range of jet exhaust temperatures, but even the smallest and "coolest" are hot enough to start fires in tinder. You wouldn't want to use one of these in, say, California during fire season. The English Lake District is, presumably, wetter and less likely to burst into flames which makes using one of these jet suits there more practical.

Do keep in mind the above guess work and speculation is based on very limited information. Hypotheses subject to change with little notice upon the receipt of more facts and data.
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Re: The 'world's first jet suit paramedic' unveiled in the Lake District by the GNAAS

Post by Zaune » 2020-09-30 11:16am

I think the general idea behind this thing is that the paramedic rides a helicopter or Mountain Rescue 4x4 as close as possible to the scene of the accident and then uses it to jet their way over to the casualty and get a head start on stabilising them, buying time while everyone else on scene figures out the logistics of carrying them down the mountainside in a rescue basket. That part of Northern England contains some very rough country indeed; it can be hard to even get close enough to lower someone on a winch much less land an air ambulance on many parts of the trails, even when visibility's good, and since the Lake District is right on the Atlantic seaboard visibility is frequently poor.

One thing's for sure, though: Whatever the pros and cons of that thing may be, it's really, really cool.
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Re: The 'world's first jet suit paramedic' unveiled in the Lake District by the GNAAS

Post by madd0ct0r » 2020-09-30 01:03pm

Lake District is pretty wet. It's lush rolling hills, green grass with sheep grazing, covered in dry stone walls and footpaths.

There are some rough areas, cliffs and scree, but generally it's fairly benign in the summer. It is INCREDIBLY popular with tourists, so you have people climbing mountains in t-shirt and trainers coming down with hypothermia when the weather turns, and fat grandpa's having heart attacks on the slope after the family get lost.

It's big enough to have multiple very busy mountain rescue teams (and a helicopter). The area is busy and benign enough that most cases can be walked off the mountain as it's a mile or two to a road for pickup. I think this is for those cases where they need to get treatment to the person pronto but they don't need to airlift them to hospital (compare to a broken neck after a cliff fall)


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Re: The 'world's first jet suit paramedic' unveiled in the Lake District by the GNAAS

Post by bilateralrope » 2020-09-30 04:41pm

Broomstick wrote:
2020-09-30 07:01am
That's why we have grid systems, maps and GPS.
What level of knowledge are you assuming from the person being rescued ?

With the recent Covid19 outbreak here in NZ, I was on the door of a business making sure people signed into our contact tracing system. This includes an app provided by our government that scans QR codes to sign you in. There were a lot of people who thought they were using it, when they were only scanning the QR code with their phones standard camera app. They didn't even know the contact tracing app needed to be installed.

So you can't rely on the person being rescued to be able to give you their GPS location, even if their phone has GPS.
They didn't show the complete deployment and run up sequence in any video I could find on line so, again, I'm only guessing, but it may be quicker and less complicated than a helicopter start-up so they'd get in the air sooner - there is an advantage to getting a guy to the scene while the air rescue is starting up.
At this point, I'm wondering if their "90 seconds" included the time needed to put the jet suit on.
There is the issue of fuel limitations. It's jet-powered and jets suck a lot of fuel, and the tank for this thing is something like 30 liters which isn't that much.
Yes, I was wondering about that. Their simulated rescue was 25 minutes walk away from their base. That's not much distance, even on flat terrain.
Do keep in mind the above guess work and speculation is based on very limited information
What I'm seeing is a press release like article posted without any critical thinking from journalists. The only people deciding what information gets left out are the people promoting their business. So anything important being left out looks fishy.

Anyway, the test I want to see for this jetsuit is:
- The person being rescued has a simulated injury that needs attention from the jet suit paramedic. Say, a nasty broken leg.
- The person also needs evacuation to a hospital.
- The person with the simulated injury is the only one that knows their location when they call for help.

Anything short of that test won't convince me that this jet suit is worth implementing.

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Re: The 'world's first jet suit paramedic' unveiled in the Lake District by the GNAAS

Post by Broomstick » 2020-09-30 07:29pm

bilateralrope wrote:
2020-09-30 04:41pm
Broomstick wrote:
2020-09-30 07:01am
That's why we have grid systems, maps and GPS.
What level of knowledge are you assuming from the person being rescued ?
Here in the US rescue services have been able to triangulate based on the location of an active cell phone without the person carrying it needing to know where they are or how to use a location app. You are correct that there can be issues with locating someone, but there are also multiple ways to approach the problem, too.
bilateralrope wrote:
2020-09-30 04:41pm
Broomstick wrote:
2020-09-30 07:01am
There is the issue of fuel limitations. It's jet-powered and jets suck a lot of fuel, and the tank for this thing is something like 30 liters which isn't that much.
Yes, I was wondering about that. Their simulated rescue was 25 minutes walk away from their base. That's not much distance, even on flat terrain.
I based the flight time on the one jet-powered ultralight I know anything about (and not much for that). About 7 minutes for 35 liters of fuel. Even so, I could see covering "25 minutes walk" of distance in that time or less, especially if you can take a direct line over obstacles rather than having to go around fences, bodies of water, etc.
bilateralrope wrote:
2020-09-30 04:41pm
Broomstick wrote:
2020-09-30 07:01am
Anyway, the test I want to see for this jetsuit is:
- The person being rescued has a simulated injury that needs attention from the jet suit paramedic. Say, a nasty broken leg.
- The person also needs evacuation to a hospital.
- The person with the simulated injury is the only one that knows their location when they call for help.

Anything short of that test won't convince me that this jet suit is worth implementing.
In that situation in the US authorities would try to use cell towers and triangulation to locate the person's cell phone, assuming that is what is being used to call for help.

Otherwise - you'd have to rely on the person using described landmarks and having some broad clue of there they are. That's true of any rescue.
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Re: The 'world's first jet suit paramedic' unveiled in the Lake District by the GNAAS

Post by LadyTevar » 2020-10-03 11:38am

I was wondering if it was just to get a paramedic there to stabilize the patient. I couldn't imagine taking someone OUT that way.

That would be useful in many places in WV, where we don't have good landing areas for helicopters for those camping/hiking in backwoods areas. Again, winds would be a problem, especially if it's in any river gorge.
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Re: The 'world's first jet suit paramedic' unveiled in the Lake District by the GNAAS

Post by madd0ct0r » 2020-10-04 06:59am

LadyTevar wrote:
2020-10-03 11:38am
I was wondering if it was just to get a paramedic there to stabilize the patient. I couldn't imagine taking someone OUT that way.

Thats my assumption too.

Heh. Just realized the range on this thing could be considerably enhanced if you start from the top of the mountain and sled you way down using the jets to skim surface and brake. Brake that is, not break (your legs)
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Re: The 'world's first jet suit paramedic' unveiled in the Lake District by the GNAAS

Post by Elheru Aran » 2020-10-04 08:18am

The main issue with using a jet suit in WV that I could see is trees. There's a lot of trees in WV. But I'm sure even having to jet-suit to a nearby clearing would probably be quicker than trekking or driving, and of course it could use a clearing smaller than needed for a helicopter.
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Re: The 'world's first jet suit paramedic' unveiled in the Lake District by the GNAAS

Post by LadyTevar » 2020-10-05 09:59pm

Elheru Aran wrote:
2020-10-04 08:18am
The main issue with using a jet suit in WV that I could see is trees. There's a lot of trees in WV. But I'm sure even having to jet-suit to a nearby clearing would probably be quicker than trekking or driving, and of course it could use a clearing smaller than needed for a helicopter.
If it was during rafting, you could land on the river bank, or even on a rock in the river and be kayaked to shore. In the National Forest where there could be a mile or more of tree canopy, often hiding thickets of rhododendron or greenbrier (or worse, poison oak/ivy)? Right now, it's ATV or walk in, walk/drag the person to a logging road or other track big enough for a vehicle, and then head to the hospital (maybe meet an ambulance or helicopter before you get them there).

We (adventures on the gorge) had an incident Friday where a gentleman was thrown out of the raft, hit a rock wrong, and broke his leg. He had to be stabilized by our First Responder-trained guides, walked up the mountain-side trail to where our Owner picked him up in his personal vehicle, and then transported to the hospital. There was no other way to get the man out of the Gauley River Gorge but to walk him up the trail to a road.
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Re: The 'world's first jet suit paramedic' unveiled in the Lake District by the GNAAS

Post by Elheru Aran » 2020-10-05 10:15pm

LadyTevar wrote:
2020-10-05 09:59pm
Elheru Aran wrote:
2020-10-04 08:18am
The main issue with using a jet suit in WV that I could see is trees. There's a lot of trees in WV. But I'm sure even having to jet-suit to a nearby clearing would probably be quicker than trekking or driving, and of course it could use a clearing smaller than needed for a helicopter.
If it was during rafting, you could land on the river bank, or even on a rock in the river and be kayaked to shore. In the National Forest where there could be a mile or more of tree canopy, often hiding thickets of rhododendron or greenbrier (or worse, poison oak/ivy)? Right now, it's ATV or walk in, walk/drag the person to a logging road or other track big enough for a vehicle, and then head to the hospital (maybe meet an ambulance or helicopter before you get them there).

We (adventures on the gorge) had an incident Friday where a gentleman was thrown out of the raft, hit a rock wrong, and broke his leg. He had to be stabilized by our First Responder-trained guides, walked up the mountain-side trail to where our Owner picked him up in his personal vehicle, and then transported to the hospital. There was no other way to get the man out of the Gauley River Gorge but to walk him up the trail to a road.
Yeah I'm not sure there's any good way around that for extremely rugged/difficult terrain. You can get the paramedic TO the patient quickly enough using a jet-suit, which is a good thing in and of itself-- get the patient stabilized and all-- but getting them all OUT is a different question.

In theory some kind of dedicated ranger/rescue/paramedic corps might be a good idea, they would be able to come up with solutions for quickly but safely moving people out of areas like that to spots where they can bring a helicopter in. Or even horses or donkeys.
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Re: The 'world's first jet suit paramedic' unveiled in the Lake District by the GNAAS

Post by madd0ct0r » 2020-10-06 08:11am

Big dog will be interesting for post stabilization evac once it's available cheaply. That was one of its intended roles after all.

Better then two stretcher bearers trying to carry over difficult terrain without slipping and damaging their ankle or back. Would still run in bad weather, which might be a factor that gives it a the edge over buying a helicopter.
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Re: The 'world's first jet suit paramedic' unveiled in the Lake District by the GNAAS

Post by Zaune » 2020-10-06 01:37pm

Elheru Aran wrote:
2020-10-05 10:15pm
In theory some kind of dedicated ranger/rescue/paramedic corps might be a good idea, they would be able to come up with solutions for quickly but safely moving people out of areas like that to spots where they can bring a helicopter in. Or even horses or donkeys.
Does the US not already have some equivalent to Mountain Rescue, even at the state level? Ours don't usually have a fully qualified paramedic on the team because they're all volunteers, but their medics are trained up to EMT standard and they're all experienced hikers and/or climbers.
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Re: The 'world's first jet suit paramedic' unveiled in the Lake District by the GNAAS

Post by Broomstick » 2020-10-06 04:19pm

Around here we have the Coast Guard because of the Great Lakes. On the other hand, we're without mountains.

It's probably going to vary by state.
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Re: The 'world's first jet suit paramedic' unveiled in the Lake District by the GNAAS

Post by The_Saint » 2020-10-19 12:45am

Broomstick wrote:
2020-09-30 07:29pm
...
Here in the US rescue services have been able to triangulate based on the location of an active cell phone without the person carrying it needing to know where they are or how to use a location app. You are correct that there can be issues with locating someone, but there are also multiple ways to approach the problem, too.
As someone who's had to deal with phone triangulation for emergency response (in Australia in good phone coverage areas) I can tell you that depending on location it can be very sketchy even at best. For example triangulating a phone to an area of about 10 square kilometres when the phone was approximately 20 kilometres away from that area. Best I've seen was an area of about 1 square kilometre ... in the middle of dense suburbia (luckily only needed to find a car).

I've always laughed at tv shows from the USA where it shows emergency services tracking phones in real time to a higher accuracy than GPS.


It's a cool idea but until we're approaching Iron Man level of flight suit I think it's just a gimmick. Big Dog as a stretcher bearer on the other hand has real possibilities.

One question I have is, is helicopter winching of stretchers not a thing in some parts of the world?
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Re: The 'world's first jet suit paramedic' unveiled in the Lake District by the GNAAS

Post by Broomstick » 2020-10-19 03:44am

Well... first you need a working helicopter...

Seriously, "do you have a helicopter" probably is the biggest limiting factor there, but a location that can't afford a helicopter is not going to be able afford a the jet suit, either.

Other than that, I'm assuming there can be problems with terrain, but weather is going to be the biggest limiting factor. Around here, for instance, there are times the air becomes so windy/turbulent it's not safe to fly, much less attempt precision maneuvers. High heat can also interfere with flight, as hot air is less dense than cold air which means an aircraft generates less lift. High altitude can also be a factor, for the same reason: the air is less dense. Hot air at high altitude is even worse. Those limitations are more transitory, they aren't in place all the time, although I for one would not want to be attempting to fly the jet suit in gale-force winds.
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Re: The 'world's first jet suit paramedic' unveiled in the Lake District by the GNAAS

Post by Zaune » 2020-10-19 08:10am

The_Saint wrote:
2020-10-19 12:45am
One question I have is, is helicopter winching of stretchers not a thing in some parts of the world?
It's a thing here in the UK where this thing is being tested, but it's not something the Air Ambulance Services have the capability for because the EC-135 helicopters they've largely standardised on aren't big enough for a full winch setup, although they could theoretically allow someone to fast-rope out of them. The RAF and the Navy have winch-equipped SAR helicopters, but they're too big for most hospital landing pads and they don't have as much specialist medical equipment onboard.
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Re: The 'world's first jet suit paramedic' unveiled in the Lake District by the GNAAS

Post by LadyTevar » 2020-10-19 07:32pm

WV has a volunteer Swift-water Rescue, and many of the Volunteer Fire Departments have people trained in Rappel/Climbing. Some Ambulance companies have folks trained for that too, but I don't think there's a State-Sponsored team, just trainers. So, it's really all based on volunteer First Responders.

Now, I've heard the National Guard air-base in Charleston has the rescue helos, but I don't know for sure. There's also a thriving Air-Ambulance service, but they have to meet the patient somewhere wide enough for the helo to land (like last month where it landed in the ballground for a lady who'd been run over by her domestic partner).
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Re: The 'world's first jet suit paramedic' unveiled in the Lake District by the GNAAS

Post by Zaune » 2020-10-19 10:00pm

Broomstick wrote:
2020-10-19 03:44am
Well... first you need a working helicopter...

Seriously, "do you have a helicopter" probably is the biggest limiting factor there, but a location that can't afford a helicopter is not going to be able afford a the jet suit, either.

Other than that, I'm assuming there can be problems with terrain, but weather is going to be the biggest limiting factor. Around here, for instance, there are times the air becomes so windy/turbulent it's not safe to fly, much less attempt precision maneuvers. High heat can also interfere with flight, as hot air is less dense than cold air which means an aircraft generates less lift. High altitude can also be a factor, for the same reason: the air is less dense. Hot air at high altitude is even worse. Those limitations are more transitory, they aren't in place all the time, although I for one would not want to be attempting to fly the jet suit in gale-force winds.
As a side-note to this, I don't know if it happens in more rural areas but here in the more urbanised south of England, whenever the helicopter is grounded the air ambulance medics ride around in a high-performance car instead, usually one of the same model the police use for highway duties that's probably not much slower than the chopper in a straight line. And the Scottish Ambulance Service at least has a couple of Polaris ATVs for getting to an accident site up on the moors.
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Re: The 'world's first jet suit paramedic' unveiled in the Lake District by the GNAAS

Post by Broomstick » 2020-10-20 04:16am

As a general rule helicopters aren't much faster than high speed ground transport, their big advantages are that 1) they fly, 2) they can launch/land vertically, and 3) they can hover.

This is opposed to air ambulances that are airplanes, where speed really is the enormous advantage.

All the various forms of ambulance and SAR vehicles have their niches and uses.
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Re: The 'world's first jet suit paramedic' unveiled in the Lake District by the GNAAS

Post by Sky Captain » 2020-11-04 03:15pm

That's pretty cool, like straight from James Bond movie. Looked up few videos of it and it seems big problem is engine failure, all the flights are very low or over water just for this reason. If engine goes out there is no way to recover. Helicopters at least can autorotate if engines fail and even that is not sure thing to prevent crash. Human flying with jet suit turns into a brick if something important fails. I imagine going high and having a parachute could be a solution for engine failures. Either fly very low to simply jump down or high enough to open a parachute in case of failure. However jet suit would be most useful at lowish altitudes where it can go between obstacles where helicopters can't, however that is the flight regime where it would be most deadly if there is a failure of critical component.

For rescue work in tight spaces an electric multicopter like one of those drone taxis several companies are developing may be better tool. It is not that much bigger than jet suit and still much smaller than helicopter and it could also transport injured patient to a place where helicopter can land.

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