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Real-life Iron Man grants boy's wish

6 March 2019
The six-year-old son of a Royal Navy sailor fulfilled his dream of meeting Iron Man today at an event at HMS Sultan to promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics to future generations.

Bailey Hall met former Royal Marines Reservist turned jet suit inventor Richard Browning as he gave a demonstration of his invention to local children and the Gosport base's air and marine engineering apprentices.

Richard, the founder and chief test pilot of Gravity Industries, has been nicknamed the 'real-life Iron Man' for the 1000bhp jet suit he developed and recently flew around the infamous bottom field assault course at the Commando Training Centre in Lympstone, Devon. 

When he was only months old, Bailey underwent surgery to repair a hole in his heart leaving him with a scar similar to that of Iron Man – the famous on-screen superhero played by Robert Downey Jr. 

For Bailey to meet his hero and see him flying is a dream come true.

Petty Officer Engineering Technician Bruce Hall

After seeing Richard's display at Lympstone, Bailey's father Petty Officer Engineering Technician Bruce Hall, wrote to Richard and was invited along with his family to HMS Sultan to meet him.

"Bailey feels he has a lot in common with the character Iron Man due to having a similar scar from his heart operation," said PO Hall.

"When he saw Richard and his jet suit on the news he got excited, knocked over his cereal and ran to get his Iron Man mask and sat watching the news again and again until it was time to go to school. For Bailey to meet his hero and see him flying is a dream come true." 

During the display at HMS Sultan, Richard flew around the parade ground and over objects including Lynx and Sea King helicopters.

The event was organised by the Defence School of Marine Engineering's Commander in charge of training, Commander Antony Quinn, as part of the establishments STEM engagement programme with local schools.

Cdr Quinn said: "The jet suit inspires everyone who sees it and with National Apprenticeship Week upon us, I'm proud that HMS Sultan can work with Gravity Industries to provide technical inspiration to local schoolchildren in such a memorable – and noisy – way."


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