Medical patients in need of emergency care in especially hilly or rocky terrain in the United Kingdom could soon be visited by a paramedic wearing a jetpack.
The Great North Air Ambulance Service, GNAAS, is a non-profit emergency service that operates in the north of England. Their coverage area includes some of the mountainous terrain in the country.
Thanks to a partnership with Gravity Industries, reaching patients in this rough terrain could get a lot faster, boosted by a jet suit.
Recently, a test flight of the jet suit in a simulated emergency rescue situation showed a huge difference in travel time. The test pilot arrived in 90 seconds, where it would take emergency responders roughly 25 minutes to reach by foot.
“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,” said Andy Mawson, director of operations and paramedic at GNAAS, in a statement about the test flight.
Currently, the jet suit has a fly time of between 5-to-10 minutes, and can reach speeds above 80 mph.
“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,” Mawson continued.
GNAAS says the jetpack-wearing paramedic would carry the same equipment those on the ground do, including a defibrillator and patient monitoring equipment.
Now that the test flight is complete, GNAAS and Gravity Industries are exploring how to make it a reality.