Onlookers at the downtown Vancouver waterfront watched in amazement Thursday as a British inventor showed off a flight suit that seemed ripped straight from an "Iron Man" movie.

Richard Browning had just finished giving a TED Talk about the experimental technology at the Vancouver Convention Centre when he walked outside to give it a test spin.

A crowd of roughly 2,000 people, including TED guests and bystanders, watched as Browning donned the flight suit and took off, floating a few feet off the ground with seemingly little effort.

But the suit, which uses six jet engines attached to the back and arms, is capable of much more, the inventor said.

"You could go to several thousand feet, several hundred miles an hour, very quickly," Browning told CTV News.

The technology has been in the works since last year, but is still in the proof of concept stage. Browning said Thursday's demonstration was the suit's biggest test yet, and extra precautions were taken beforehand to make sure everything went smoothly.

"There was a small chance we would have a failure of some kind," he said. "I really wanted to go and deliver a nice, reliable flight, and we actually did."

Recordings of the test made a splash on social media, which quickly turned into international headlines, and there's already talk of the suit eventually being used for military or search-and-rescue purposes.

Browning said he and his team aren't worrying themselves about what it will be used for just yet. For now, they're enjoying the process of bringing the technology to life, and the thrill of showing it off.

"The reaction was brilliant," he said. "It left a big impression on people, I think."

With a report from CTV Vancouver's Sheila Scott