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Wednesday, 23 March 2022 11:37

World's first test of jet suits for paramedics to reach offshore windfarm workers

Renewable energy company Ørsted is exploring the use of Jet Suit paramedics to support their operational staff working out at sea on the world's largest offshore wind farms.

Ørsted has partnered with Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) and Gravity Industries in the UK to trial onshore the viability of Jet Suit paramedics for the wind industry, designed so that responses are applied out at sea.

jet suit for windfarms captionThe trial initially aims to train experienced paramedics from GNAAS to use the Suit to access real patients in the Lake District. At this early stage, the training has already enabled a GNAAS paramedic to complete their first free flight, safely operating the Jet Suit unassisted, with more paramedics reaching this stage soon.

The next stage, commencing in the Summer, will bring GNAAS paramedics flight skills to a level where real operational experience can be assessed – and real assistance will arrive via Jet Suit paramedics in the Lake District.

Gravity Industries designs, builds, and flies the world's first patented Jet Suit, pioneering a new era of human flight. This new technology has the potential to provide benefits, not only for emergency responses in the wind industry, but also in the future potential as another way for technicians to transfer to and from offshore structures.

Since Gravity Industries and GNAAS's last paramedic response trial in the Lake District in 2020, Gravity has grown as an organisation, driven by the ongoing advancement of its Jet Suit technology. This now includes more powerful turbine engines that start faster and benefit from a CAN BUS control system. The Suit is now fully 3D printed in polypropylene, resulting in a system with greater capabilities, that has enabled Gravity to push into more challenging mountainous environments.

The new Jet Suit improvements should result in increased manoeuvrability and faster deployment. Time savings have already been found against conventional access methods on foot or by helicopter.

The main areas of focus for the Jet Suit Paramedic would be on-site triage and urgent casualty response that should improve patient stability and survivability.

Richard Browning, Founder and Chief Test Pilot at Gravity Industries, said: "Our drive for creating the Suit came from wanting to challenge what seemed like the impossible, and to now see it being used for areas of Special Forces mobility and First Response Search & Rescue, it's very exciting. We're enjoying working in a new sector and helping the front line workers in clean energy. The Jet Suit produces up to 144kg of thrust; the thrust to weight ratio works out to be greater than any known Jet Fighter we are aware of."

Andy Mawson, Director of Operations at GNAAS, 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."