back to article Microsoft Windows glider crashes

Those of you who've been following our Paper Aircraft Released Into Space (PARIS) programme are invited to spare a thought today for Microsoft's Phoenix glider, which failed to demonstrate the Right Stuff over the weekend at Red Bull's Flugtag competition in Long Beach, California. Flugtag "challenges teams of everyday people …


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  1. Valerion


    Even dressing as Mighty Morphin Power Rangers didn't help.

    1. A J Stiles

      Am I the only person

      who misread that as "mighty morphine-powered rangers" ?

    2. Daniel 1

      I thought they were the teletubies...

      Since a phoenix is a legendary bird, known for its self-immolation, I'd say Crash and Burn was an appropriate outcome.

  2. Guido Esperanto

    someone forgot to brief the team

    by stating 10ft vertical steel rods have no lift capabilities whatsoever.

    typical MS, missing the actual problem.

    "He said: "The wings appeared sound, but perhaps the balance was off."

    No it was that f*cking great hunk of metal below the wing that caused the problem.!!!

    1. David Edwards

      Attempt to "cheat" ?

      I dont think the rods were supposed to fly. Id guess the glider was supposed to come off the launch tower (10ft rods) at the end of the pier, thereby starting higher and haiving better chance of going the distance. This is either:

      Clever ?

      Cheating ?

      Non of the above as it diddnt work!

      1. BristolBachelor Gold badge


        I say it is options B and C, but not A.

        B - Cheating

        C - It didn't work.

  3. Leeroy Silver badge


    When are people going to learn that building something up with loud music and dancing around only makes you look like more of a fool when you FAIL.

    They should have just used the Vista logon sound, stood still for 60 seconds and then crashed :)

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Would have been funnier had it gone off the pier at Worthing in the 2010 Worthing Birdman competition.

  5. Miek


    Really fantastic, that thing went down like a sack of shit. Rather funny after all the lycra clad dancing and the bizarre soundtrack.

    So much for the phoenix.

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Just like Windows

    Just like Windows - mashed together with no thought over the design of the thing! Just looking at it - you can tell that it will get no where. It is too tall with a pathetically short wing span!

    And the stupid dancing at the beginning? All show, no functionality (again like Windows).


    1. Elmer Phud

      It worked just fine

      Launched then crashed.

      Works like Windows

      It will be the fault of Red Bull not upgrading the launching platform or an unspecified deity for using the wrong sort of wind or some unauthorised attatchment that unstabilised it.

      Whatever the problem it wont be anything to do with the glider.

    2. Dave Nordquist

      Just like windows indeed

      I'd agree that they did a very Microsoft thing here. They produced an ugly, unrefined product that crashed shortly after launch. Yep, that's MS...

  8. Tigra 07 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Had it been apple...

    We could assume they were flying it wrong.

    Since it was windows, it must have been the BSOD (Bull Sh+t Obsolete Design)

  9. Anonymous Coward

    the craft was disgusted with the pre-lunch dance

    any way, the *smart* guys fell of the ledge as well as the craft.... no wander they work for Microsoft.

  10. Jacqui

    MS and testing?

    or lack of?

    Aerodynamics is not difficult and even a high camber wing like that would still need a decent airflow. Perhaps instead of hiring dancers, they should have hired some athletes to do the launch. Glitz vs functionality - very MS :-)

    IMHO Steve jobs would have said it was the wrong sort of wind!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I am amused.


  12. Anonymous Coward

    epic fail

    hahaha, just wasted 2 minutes of my life watching M$ bigging up their glider only to watch it fail spectaculary. they should have put a pc below with vista on it.


    There is the Microsoft way to Fly...

    And of course it would look like a Monolithic Tower with Wings and crashes on first boot. But an Apple Designed plane would be the epitome of DIY Flight. With Majestically Swooped Wings and a one piece white body. When it did crash we'd be told we were looking at it wrong.

    1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
      Jobs Horns

      Apple designed plane...

      The ground approached the plane from the wrong direction.

  14. Lee Dowling Silver badge


    I know the RedBull thing is only a joke but... watch the last few seconds of that video - the "wing" wasn't even attached properly from what I can make out - it falls off as soon as they move onto the slope.

    Typical Microsoft quality... ;-) Although the Linux one would probably end up with 37 different implementations of wings, all glued together, and to move it would require several thousands of volunteers to make sure that the wheels (all different shapes and sizes, of course) all turned at the same time.

    1. Uplink

      A Linux plane?

      A Linux plane would come with loads of _options_ on what to put on it. It's up to you what you put. If you put different size wheels, it's your problem. But you can always take them off and install new ones, until you get a working thing. After you've fitted everything, that plane will fly by itself, without anyone pushing it. And will stay in the air until you unplug the IR blaster from the USB port :)

      1. 42


        Would not a linux plane comes in pieces with an PDF assembly manual?

        1. Tim Bates


          Why would it have a PDF manual? Surely it simply would come with plain text files called "README", "INSTALL" and "LICENSE"...

        2. Anonymous Coward

          PDF? hardly!

          Everything you need to know is in the man page.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Fucking mint!

    Nuff aid :)

  16. 2FishInATank


    Sometimes there's just not enough WTF? in the world....

    Lycra-clad Power Ranger dancers. Check.

    Gobsmackingly bad attempt to MS-ify an aging club tune. Check.

    'Flying' machine which appeared to be missing any obvious lift vs mass advantage. Check.

    People surprised when it plummeted. Check.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Should have done it...

    the usual Microsoft way - copy something that works (OK the MS product still won't be any good until version 3).

  18. Greg J Preece

    That has got to be... of the absolute worst attempts at music I have ever heard.

    Take a horrifically bad dance number, and mix it with the WINDOWS XP STARTUP SOUND??

    Jesus Horatio Christ, my ears!

  19. Alan Firminger


    Since when did Microsoft take a team of smart guys and girls and build things from scratch. They bought or copied most things that they sell, starting with MS-DOS through Windows and all the more recent specialist company purchases.

    1. chr0m4t1c

      They often do that

      Normal product development cycle for MS:

      Version 1 - Build completely from scratch without knowledge or training. Usually makes a completely useless product.

      Version 2 - Buy up a competitor with a working product which needs a relatively small amount of investment to turn it into a brilliant product as it's not really complete or stable. Replace all of competitor's logos on the product with MS equivalents and ship with some weird installation requirements that are irrelevant to the product (e.g. require installation of IE in order to run a route mapping program).

      Version 3 - Re-write V2 from the ground up in order to produce a more MS-like experience for the end user. Remove any particularly useful or popular features, reproduce the bugs from V2 and introduce a couple of new ones that cripple vital features in subtle ways.

      Version 3.1 - Fix any bugs that are driving customers to competitor's products. Create "Pro" version that includes all of the useful and popular functions that were removed at V3, but charge 5-10 times as much.


      Expect next year's glider to be purchased from someone who's glider worked this year, expect 2012's glider to have no wings and 2013's to work but also come with a version that has engines.

      Also expect MS to loudly talk up how much innovation they have brought to the glider market.

      Bitter? Me? No, of course not. Well, not much.

  20. brale
    Jobs Horns

    “I'll that one a chance”

    Someone was heard saying “I'll that one a chance” and then disaster.

    And let a new meme start. - Windows Phone 7? “I'll that one a chance”.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Cringe-inducing Microsofties

    ..are cringe-inducing, again. Seriously, ban these wazzocks from trying to be "whacky", it's just creepy, even when the fail is as monumental as this.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    "Where do you want to go today?"

  23. Code Monkey

    Windows poor uptimes

    Presumably the BSD teams are still up.

  24. jai
    Jobs Halo

    one by Apple...

    ...would have just worked... and would have felt much snappier too. but that's because it would have been magical and revolutionary :-)

  25. Mark123

    MS KB article says....

    The failure is due to the ramp not being supported by MS, therefore the crash is the ramp manufacturers fault.

    This is going to require some serious patches to get up and running again.

    1. Code Monkey

      This is going to require some serious patches to get up and running again.

      While you wait, here's some spam to read

  26. Steve X

    hang on

    A 30-foot high deck, and it only flew 0.62m? You mean it's still up there?

    That's one system hang that would have gor MS noticed

  27. Jad
    Thumb Up

    Windows PC

    It could only have been funnier if the next person with little applause had walked to the end and just chucked a PC over the edge :)

  28. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

    I'm going to go out on a limb here...

    ...and suggest that maybe these folks aren't official MS bods, and that they are, in fact, taking the piss?

  29. Peter Simpson 1
    Thumb Down

    Microsoft should have learned by now

    Xbox RROD, Zune, Kin One and Kin Two...

    They don't do hardware well. And apparently, Operating System design by committee doesn't work so well either.

  30. Bilgepipe

    Standard Operating Procedure

    "This is kind of like the most Microsoft thing we could do."

    What, fail completely after a bunch of hype? Yes, yes it was.

  31. Slartybardfast

    Fault Easily Diagnosed

    It's obvious,

    Unexpected Microsoft crash,

    It must be a driver error.

    1. Code Monkey


      Had it been an Apple plane comically underperforming, Jobs would've blamed Adobe.

    2. Vladimir Plouzhnikov


      That was a General Protection Fault, quite clearly.

  32. Anonymous Coward


    incidentally that tune was Darude - Sandstorm (1999)

  33. Adam Williamson 1

    I'm hoping

    ...that it's understood and we're all just sticking the boot into Microsoft anyway, but just in case, it's worth pointing out that Flugtag is a big joke. You're not really supposed to build something that might actually fly (that would result in a very boring succession of typical actually-working-glider designs). You're meant to build something that looks utterly magnificent and then crashes almost immediately. That's the *point*. (Which of course makes Microsoft the ideal candidate - ooh lookit that, I got the boot in anyway).

  34. Charles E


    That was the most embarrassing Microsoft promotional stunt since the release video for Microsoft Songsmith.

  35. Jason Yau

    Should of

    pressed ctrl+alt+delete

  36. D. Suse
    Thumb Down

    EULA protection

    In the off chance that Microsoft "patches" this glider thing up and offers to take paying passengers, I am sure they will have to sign an EULA which limits Microsoft's liability to the (possible) refund of the ticket price. But then, if the passengers all perish, it would be kind of hard for them to "collect" their ticket refunds...Ballmer would be dancing with glee, and loving his job as usual.

    I guess is what a BSOD looks like when translated into physical reality, yet another Microsoft-related "crash". Hopefully this video will go viral as a prophecy of the fall of the glitch-riddled Microsoft empire.

  37. Frank Bitterlich
    Thumb Up

    Most Microsoft thing we could do...

    "This is kind of like the most Microsoft thing we could do". No shit, Sherlock. Looks like a pile of junk bolted together in someone's backyard, and crashes on first launch. A true Microsoft thing.

  38. Minophis
    Jobs Horns

    If it had been an Apple glider

    Steve would have started by saying that the glider was revolutionary, would change everything and that he personally invented all forms of flight.

    He then would have claimed that the pilot was holding it wrong.

    He would then have claimed that a surprising software error made the planes altitude look like it was 0 when in fact it was 500ft

    He would then have held a press conference to say that there was no 'CrashGate' and that every aircraft ever built also crashed on take off and some even before.

    Finally as a goodwill gesture he would give everyone who bought a glider a free Apple parachute and then had the designer killed (possibly).

  39. Ascylto
    Gates Horns

    Hee, hee!

    It looked a bit like a Flying Chair.

    So, Ballmer WAS the sponsor, then!

  40. Matt Bryant Silver badge


    I see the anti-M$ brigade completely missed the point - Flugtag isn't about flying, it's about having a laugh at the most rediculous designs and warm-up routines. After all, if they'd wanted it to fly, they'd just have put a couple of small wings on a chair, put it on the end of the ramp, then given Ballmer some bad news....

  41. Ascylto
    Jobs Halo

    Another Windoze Event

    The razzamatazz, the Windows Chime, the spandex dancers ...

    Just like their software ... they didn't see it coming!

    Where do you want to go today? Downwards?

  42. Anonymous Coward


    I wonder if someone explained to them the most basic fundamentals of flight here on our little blue planet.

    Unless you're using rocketry, levitation or or swami-powered magic carpet jiggery pokery then you need something called LIFT. That's aerodynamic lift; not 10 people shuffling it to the end of a ramp then giving it a push. Nothing I saw on that structure would generate anything like the lift needed for even a brief flight.

    Stuff like this is why I had to stop watching Scrapheap Challenge. My nerves just couldn't take it. Somehow the guys who needed the most power always got the least and just when things were getting good a weld would fail. I knew it would when I saw them designing it but still I kept watching.

  43. Astarte

    Beta Version?

    I'm sure MS would have done some research and field testing on this product before 'The Day'.

    I mean, I can't imagine a prestigious company like MS releasing a faulty untested product to the world with such a glitzy and loud fanfare, only to watch it fail at its first public showing.

    Says a lot for the "team of smart guys and girls" employed by MS (Sorry, I know that's unfair on the "team of smart guys and girls").

    Perhaps they should have named it Icarus, then they could have blamed the failure on (the) Sun.

  44. H2Nick

    Surely not - M$ more show that go ???

    Reminds me of a 1994 article in IBM system user "If operating systems were airlines"

    DOS Air

    All the passengers go out onto the runway, grab hold of the plane, push it till it gets into the air, hop on, jump off when it hits the ground again.

    Windows Air

    The terminal is very neat & clean, the attendants are all very attractive, the pilots very capable.

    The fleet of Lear jets the company operates is immense. Your jet takes off without a hitch, pushing above the clouds and, at 20,000 feet, it explodes without warning.

  45. beardman
    Paris Hilton

    that was...

    ... totally lame. Even if the event by design is to have fun, there was no fun at all. Lame aircraft design, lame attempt to bring fun.

    Go, PARIS!

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