back to article Vulture 1 rolls out of fab bunker

The Paper Aircraft Released Into Space team are delighted to bring you the final construction snaps of the Vulture 1 aircraft. You can check out the first two build phases here and here. Since we've already covered the techniques and materials used in some detail, you're advised to refer back if you've got any doubts about …


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  1. DZ-Jay

    No on-board camera?

    So, apart from the GPS tracking unit, what other on-board gear does it have?


    1. Anonymous Coward

      RE: No on-board camera?

      There will be a video camera tho. Might be more exciting to watch than an onboard camera.

  2. lansalot


    Is this what you're aiming for ?

  3. graeme leggett


    The most aero-dynamic nose I've seen on a paper aeroplane.

  4. Alex Walsh
    Black Helicopters


    So rather than going into space, you'll film it all at Lester's palatial mansion in the hills?

  5. The Indomitable Gall

    We'd better hope...

    We'd better hope it falls apart shortly after release so that we actually get to see it. That thing reaching Earth intact would be a real culinary millinary moment, and what's the point of it when (to use the popular vernacular) "pictures, or it didn't happen"...?

  6. Andrew Kaluzniacki
    Thumb Up

    Very nice

    What a terrific effort. Good luck on launch.

  7. Chris Morrison

    Spainish Astronaut

    Cosmanuat - Russian,

    Taikonaut - China

    Astronaut - USA

    What will our intrepid first person launched into space by Spain be called? Playmonaut?

    1. DZ-Jay

      Re: Spanish Astronaut

      Since the word comes from the same Greek root, It's either "Astronauta" or "Cosmonauta". However, since he's not going actually into space, it would be an "Aeronauta", which typically just means "airplane pilot".

      That said, my vote is for "Playmonauta"!


      1. Graham Marsden


        ... it's Regonaut!

        (Unless you want "Astrotard"...?)

      2. Alien Doctor 1.1


        it would have to be a PARIS-diver.

        Got nuthin'

        Sorry, just been to see Rich Hall at the Tobacco Factory in Bristle; I need a mind-scrub.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Will it fly?

    Or plummet like a stone?

    1. Heff


      its will it BLEND. Will. It. BLEND.

      you people are your popculture fails. BAD AC. BAD!

  9. Kurgan

    No camera?

    No camera? And how will we know that you actually launched it, instead of setting up a fake mission?

    Seriously, on-board camera is really needed for a very cool video of the event.

  10. Pen-y-gors

    Vulture 2

    So we start planning for vulture 2 now then, bigger, better, and with on board live video? WE WANT PICCIES!

  11. jubtastic1
    Paris Hilton


    Can't you insulate it so that it keeps itself warm? or add a small heat source inside the insulation if that's not enough, without onboard pics or video it just seems like a waste of effort.

    Also, what's with the boxy nose?

  12. dotdavid

    No camera?!

    That's awful news. I was looking forward to a Duplo-model's-eye-view from a real spaceplane. I presume there is no chance of another miniature camera being found at this late stage?

  13. Graham Bartlett

    Cold camera?

    What are you using camera-wise? Glider pilots and parachutists have been using GoPro Hero cameras successfully in seriously parky conditions. Admittedly probably not at that kind of altitude though.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I know it's a bit late

    but could you fit something like a hand warmer in to keep the camera going?

    Or is that a bit dangerous in a paper plane?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Did you prick the straws in the end?

    The ones covered in silver spray paint look pretty well sealed....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      read the earlier stories...

      after testing in the altitude chamber there were no problems...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    WHAT No Camera?!?!?

    Heater Circuts are simple:


  17. Pirate Dave Silver badge

    love the patron saint sticker

    a great early morning LOL.

    Good luck on launch. Too bad about the video cam, was looking forward to that. Some "Toasti-Toes" warmers perhaps?

  18. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Wrong colour

    That silver paint will block some radio waves. Older GPS kit cannot handle a wet leaf let alone silver paint. A modern GPS should be OK, especially at altitude, but you have cut into the margins and may have problems after landing. If you have to put your antenna inside the fuselage, pick a pale colour. Better still, test all the radio kit in a simple painted box first because I am not sure that this PARIS would survive a complete stripping.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Our man inside Paris prepares to take her to heaven and back.

    +1 Internets for the adline.

  20. Robert Moore
    Paris Hilton

    Wrong pilot

    I would have used the Taliban Playmobile character. Just to frighten Americans. :)

  21. Anonymous John

    There's a photo mising.

    The one of the pilot inspecting the plane, walking round it, kicking the tyres, etc.

  22. David Haig

    What a shame ....

    ...about the camera. But good luck with the launch.

    Looking forward to Vulture 2. (Can we have proper swept back paper plane wings please?)

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Would it be possible to get some large desktop backround images of Vulture 1 before you send her on her maiden voyage?

  24. Mr Young

    Have I missed something?

    What's the daredevil pilots name? He'll need a pint I'm sure - see icon

    1. lawndart

      Yes, we need a name

      Chuck Glyder?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Reg. Or since they're taking off from Spain, El Reg.

  25. John Edwards
    Paris Hilton

    Well done

    Paris will be pleased that her minions have done so well in spite of not having her advantages. Eat your heart out Richard Branson.

    Who else?

  26. Trevor_Pott Gold badge


    I can't wait for videos of the launch! Thanks muchly for awesomeness and hurray!

    Absolutely beautiful looking plane.

  27. Andy E

    But can it fly?

    What testing have you done to make sure the thing will actually glide? If it is aerodynamically unstable I think it is likely to breakup on the way down.

    Anyway, I do wish our intrepid pilot all the best!

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ready for take-off

    I have the test pilot's obituary on file.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Maiden flight tradition

    Did you also remember to also leave room (and allowance for proper weight distribution) for the chief engineer's car keys and wallet with our brave pilot. I seem to recall that's a tradition for maiden voyages.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Even better

      At the Skunkworks the pilot takes up a bag with the ENTIRE engineering team's keys and wallets.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    It's probably not the first time...

    That Paris has had a pilot inside her.

    Or a little person insider her.

    Or something plastic inside her!!

    Ok, Ok, I'm leaving....

    1. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
      Paris Hilton


      the part where the pilot fits is called the cockpit....

  31. Anonymous Coward

    Columbia style threat

    Bit of a gap around the pilot? Won't air rush in and rip the skin from the inside out? I predict a Columbia-style disaster with inrushing gases doing the damage. Better get your best gapologist on this!

    1. Anonymous Coward

      It's made of paper.

      Plasma of any sort, inrushing or otherwise, is not its friend...

  32. Beanzy
    Paris Hilton


    Vulture II should incorporate a couple those glove hand-warmers as the ballast for the nose-cone. This will heat the video camera and transmitter (Pariscope?) One could be activated at launch and a second by the altitude release rod. So warm sillicone inside PARIS could be the answer to getting a good video.

  33. mittfh


    Read the article carefully. Although there'll be no onboard minature camera, the plane will have a payload dangling from it containing a video camera - so there will be video of the event. What they really need to do though is design a mirror arrangement so the camera records both the view down to earth *AND* a view looking upwards to the plane itself.

    And since the plane will presumably have zero motive power (other than gravity), shouldn't it technically be called a glider?

    1. Stuart Moore

      You miss the point

      The video camera is in the giant box thing that does the release. It sounds like there'll be no camera on the glider itself, which is a real shame...

  34. Graham Bartlett

    Good night, and good luck

    Forgot to say. In spite of all my suggestions of things which weren't quite tickety-boo in the design/construction stakes, the best of British luck to the team. You're utterly bonkers, and after all the work you've put in, you deserve a decent result. Tally-ho chaps!

  35. Robert Heffernan


    The camera attached to the payload is actually stuck to the balloon, not the plane itself. It will capture the initial release of the Vulture 1 from the balloon but not it's whole flight.

    If it was up to me, I would stick one of those $15 keyring video cameras in the plane anyway and hope for the best.

    *Pint, No more till you fly the thing!!

  36. Adam White
    Thumb Up

    The Reg Stuff

    I vote for Astrotard

    Hats off to all for the Flight of the Vulture !!

    Oh and traditionally the CAD gets done before you build the thing...

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: The Reg Stuff

      Pah, we're old school - build first, CAD later.

  37. Pen-y-gors

    What's happening?????

    Tuesday has passed with no news, now it's Wednesday, still no news? Is the pilot okay? Are the groundcrew all still plastered? When is lift off?

    1. Gareth 7
      Thumb Up

      Seems to be have been airborne today

      Location: 40°20.12' N 5°31.90' W - locator IN70FI60EL - show map - static map

      Last position: 2010-10-27 09:58:55 UTC (2h37m ago)

      2010-10-27 11:58:55 CEST local time at El Barco de Ávila, Spain [?]

      Altitude: 3471 ft

      Course: 341°

      Last telemetry: 2010-09-17 00:01:41 UTC (40d 12h34m ago) – show telemetry

      Battery: 95 Percent, Charging/AC: 95 Charge/On/Off, GPS+Sat: 2 Sats/On/Off, A4: 0 N/A, A5: 0 N/A

      A/C Charging GPS B4 B5 B6 B7 B8

      Device: BigRedBee: BeeLine GPS version 10 (tracker)

      Last path: G6UIM-12>APBL10 via qAS,G6UIM-9

      Positions stored: 2097

      Packet rate: 12 seconds between packets on average during 604 seconds.

      This station is transmitting packets at a very high rate, which causes serious congestion in the APRS network. This could be considered an abuse of the network resources.


  38. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

    I have my doubts if it will fly

    Blunt nose, high aerodynamic drag,

    The crinkly wing covering is also bad for the laminar flow over the wing, by the way which NACA profile are you using?

    I also note you do not provide any pictures of Paris's flaps, does Paris have any flaps? Plain flaps are the simplest, however fowler flaps would be more efficient, but more complex, as these flaps slide backwards before hinging downwards.

    One last question, does Paris have a black box?

    1. Peter Johnstone


      Of course Paris has flaps, haven't you seen the video? Oh wait you're talking about the plane aren't you?

      1. Mr Young


        I totally forgot how to spell? What is happening? Teleport NOW!

  39. Anonymous Coward

    Threat to the Network? Cyber Warfare Spyplane?

    "This station is transmitting packets at a very high rate, which causes serious congestion in the APRS network. This could be considered an abuse of the network resources."

    Abuse of the network? Shame on you Reg.

    Haven't you considered the risk that that PARIS might even be shot down? In an autonomous spyplane meets AA missle 'cyber-warfare' threat to the interwebs scenario?

    I reckon Mr. Playmobile should be equipped with 'stores' and ECM pod... to be on the safe side. :)

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