back to article PARIS laid bare in intimate snaps

We thought those of you who've been loyally following our "appallingly successful" Paper Aircraft Released Into Space project might enjoy a few behind-the-scenes views of our crack team and local Spanish support operatives as the historic attempt unfolded. For those of you seeking hires copies on Flickr, or video from YouTube, …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Utterly, utterly, utterly brilliant

    I can only applaud this achievement, I have followed it from the beginning and am amazed at what you have achieved. If there are any more pictures from the very top please post them.

    Paris as this is obviously the highest she's ever been satisfied.

  2. Samuel Williams
    Thumb Up

    Awesome stuff!

    Can't wait for the shots of PARIS going down.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Page 11

    >and within 15 minutes of leaving the van, we were triumphant

    God, I'd hate to see you lot when you're feeling depressed.

    BTW. Well done

  4. sholby
    Thumb Up

    Fantastic stuff

    You guys did really well! Congrats from, er, Paris, sorry...

  5. Charles E


    I'm not actually convinced the plane actually flew. Since it was found so close to the point where it separated from the balloon, the proper term might be "plummet," "nosedive," or just plain "fall." None of those conditions are really aerodynamic flight.

    I use to fly model rockets with glider payloads, the usual idea was to build the glider so it would fly in circles, so it didn't just go on a straight line into the next county. But this has to be tested before the flight, to make sure it has the ability to fly level with a slight bank. Did you actually flight test Vulture 1 before dropping it? Because the project results seem to me, to indicate the plane just dropped from the sky instead of flew. On your next attempt, I would like to see some evidence that the aircraft has aerodynamic flight properties somewhat better than a falling rock.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Paris Hilton

      This was...

      ... covered in great detail in an earlier PARIS story. I'm very pleased to say that the informed consensus was that your point of view is, while understandable, totally wrong.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        re: covered in great detail in an earlier PARIS story

        Never saw it, can't find it. Link?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not so fast...

      The lack of damage, and the fact that it landed on its belly, suggests to me that it managed a fairly smooth approach rather than a straight plummet nose-first into the ground.

      1. /dev/null

        Who said anything about nose-first?

        A plummeting object can fall in any attitude. If (and it wouldn't suprise me) Vulture 1's CG was too far aft, it wouldn't be going anywhere nose-first.

      2. PC Paul

        Next time, more 'plane'...

        While it was all very impressive, I was really hoping to see more 'flying' from this plane. It wouldn't actually have taken much extra weight and complexity to add an ardupilot to the existing GPS etc. With that plus a couple of small servos, it would have turned into a fully fledged rudder/elevator plane that could fly itself to GPS waypoints and land wherever you wanted.

        How much cooler would it have been to present a KMZ file showing the track spelling out 'Paris 2010' across the whole country?

        1. Anonymous Coward

          I did suggest a LEGO pilot...

    3. Vic


      > I'm not actually convinced the plane actually flew

      Go and watch the videos. You'll see the plane clearly flying.


    4. Annihilator
      Thumb Down

      @ Charles E

      Try dropping a rock and a large parachuted object from roughly 90,000 feet. They won't land anywhere near each other.

    5. json

      it flew..

      otherwise.. it would probably have suffered more damage.

      1. PC Paul

        re: it flew

        "It flew - or it would be more damaged"

        With no control surfaces, and no flight tests? They should go and buy a lottery ticket straight away. Only one needed, with that sort of luck.

        It fluttered, or maybe sycamored down. It wasn't damaged because it's very light for it's surface area, so it's terminal velocity was pretty low.

        Don't get me wrong, it was a fascinating project. But it could have been so much more with just a few small changes.

        It wasn't a plane, it was a plane shaped object.

        1. The First Dave


          Again, well done, but it really wasn't a paper-aeroplane anyway - despite the project logo showing a real one.

  6. Michael H.F. Wilkinson
    Thumb Up

    Muy Bien!!

    What else can we say?

  7. Justin Clements


    Well done! Great project and looking forward to seeing LOHAN take shape!

  8. graeme leggett Silver badge

    Not sure about the orange tail?

    While I appreciate that its a high visibility orange, the traditionalist in me wants to point out that British experimental aircraft used yellow for marking them out.

    Though why the Boulton Paul P.120 (to E.27/49) was in overall gloss black with sparse yellow trim escapes me.

    1. /dev/null

      Yellow is so old-fashioned

      Yellow went out of fashion in the 60s. The best high-visibility colour scheme ever was the red/white/blue one used on experimental MoD aircraft since the 70s. Dark blue undersides, white top sides, red wingtips and empennage.

      Like this one:

    2. A Known Coward

      Black is better

      Back when I was an RAF cadet they were in the process of re-painting all their training aircraft from white and orange to black. It seems pretty obvious in hindsight but after years of experimentation they'd discovered that nothing stands out against blue sky, white clouds or even the varied palette of the ground quite as well as gloss black.

      At night the colour is irrelevant obviously and the aircraft are lit up like Christmas trees.

      1. /dev/null

        Not convinced

        Never been entirely convinced about the RAF's current penchant for black trainers. The point of the MoD scheme is that the aircraft's attitude is immediately apparent, due to the contrast between upper and lower surfaces, and the red tail and wingtips. Lower surfaces are dark to stand out against the sky, upper surfaces light to stand out against the ground.

        Oh, and the previous trainer scheme was red (BS381C:537 Signal Red to be exact) and white, not orange!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Quit getting my hopes up....

    With your titilating PARIS bylines!!

    A man can only take so much!!

  10. Martin.Hale
    Paris Hilton

    A Thoroughly Entertaining Project

    Well, that title says it all, really.

  11. Mike Plunkett
    Thumb Up

    A Triumph

    A work of absolute genius that I've followed from the start and which has delivered spectacular results. Perhaps a rocket launch for LOHAN (the other sceptical Charles E, above, indicates this is possible)? Some sort of reliable, onboard camera system for the aircraft would also seem to be required.

    Top work all round chaps, you're a credit to the memory of the British experimental aircraft programme!

  12. Jacqui

    Congrats (again)

    Seriously well done! But as they say what next - those incontinent TV muppets (TopGear) have already tried to turn del's wheels into a shuttle - so I would skip the shuttle idea.

    The rocket side of things gets messy (legally and logistically) however the idea of a (small) powered craft launched from a balloon suspended platform under ground (or pre-programmed) control.

    Come on guys - a *real* into space launch for "minibucks"? While taking the wee-wee out of NASA every step of the way.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Still in awe of the results of this exercise

    and, having now seen the payload/plane combo prior to launch, I can understand the suspicion that the two were frozen together and thus hampered in the release.

    Job one for Vulture 2, then: some standoffs. I'd wager some straws would suffice.

    Job two, or course, is the onboard camera, to shut up the moaners if nothing else.

    PARIS team, I salute, you.

  14. thecakeis(not)alie
    Paris Hilton


    Always good to have more PARIS.

  15. cookieMonster Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    One word . . . .

    brilliant !!!!

    Simply brilliant.

    I've been following this from day 1 and have to say that the entire project, from start to finish, defines what the register is all about - good honest to goodness tongue in cheek tech reporting with the right amount of irreverence backed by genuine "hacker" mentality and the pursuit of fun.

    Well done to all who worked on this and those who backed the project (including the pointy haired back room crew).

    This is what is missing from life these days - the spirit of doing something for the fun of it.

    I really really do hope that this is just the start, and not the end of this adventure, you guys have the makings of a real annual event here and the possibility to take it international (what with the possibility of a competition with the aussies and god knows who else).

    Thank you for a great adventure, it was one of those very rare events that captured the kid in all of us.

    I can't wait for the next one.

  16. Joe H.
    Thumb Up

    My kids were impressed

    I told them about this when my wife asked what I was doing in front of my laptop, and when I told them about a paper airplane that sailed from 89,000 feet above the earth and was successfully recovered in the woods of Spain my boys thought it was cool. My wife reasonably wondered why people would do such a thing and both my boys and I rounded on her to say things like, "because it's cool, and awesome", etc. Good geek entertainment is what the boys and I surmised as was the intention of this, yes?

    Good work to all again, thanks for truly inspiring entertainment/achievement.

  17. Jeremy 2

    Outstanding job, chaps.

    Brilliant stuff. That last picture makes it all worthwhile, I hope?

  18. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah !!

    That is all.

  19. heyrick Silver badge

    "Prohibido llevar perros sueltos" ?

    [top photo on p12]

    Google translate makes that "Prohibited to stray dogs". Can Spanish dogs read signs? Do they turn around and go kick over garbage cans in towns?

    1. DZ-Jay


      It actually means, "Prohibited to bring dogs without a leash."


  20. Steven 1

    Way cool :)

    That is all :)

  21. Spot the Cat


    Utterly splendid, and congrats to all the team, with a special rasing of the hat/glass to Lewis Page for coming up with the "short 'naut". Wonderful. More please.

  22. Bill B
    Thumb Up

    One last throw

    I would love to see a video of Paris being thrown from a high building, just to find out what her flight characteristics actually *are*.

    But I also appreciate you might want to keep her in one piece and give her pride of place in the office.

  23. DI_Wyman


    great.....UK 1 ROW 0


  24. rahul

    The wheel, sliced bread...

    and duct tape. The best inventions, and look what they lead to. Cheers on excellent results.

  25. DrogoNevets
    Thumb Up

    well done

    lads, seriusly well done!

    LOHAN should be next year, maybe dont go for height, but distance?? powered flight of some description??

  26. Nebulo


    Splendid stuff all round. But there's one unanswered question. With that big bottle of helium standing around (and I speak from experience here) ...

    Okay. How many of the team took a lungful and did the vocal pitch shifting trick? And where's the link to the MP3? :)

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

      Re: Bravo!

      The lamentable truth is that we were so bloody tired we didn't even do the squeaky voice gag. How sad old man is that, eh?

  27. Anakin

    LOHAN in the spring?

    You got the release box and you could easy make the mecanism to release higher up.

    Devide the same amount of Helium into 4 or 5 balloons so it burst in higher altitud.

    The only job is to build a bigger plane where it's room for a camcorder.

    As the guys in Top Gear use to say "How hard can it be?"

  28. RSW
    Thumb Up

    In print

    Nice one guys you get a mention in our local rag

  29. Adrian Esdaile

    Great job guys! Well done Chuck Eccles for going all the way with PARIS!

    Great pics, and an epic adventure for an EPIC WIN!

    I can't believe the skeptics! Of course it flew! - proof undamaged landing, if it hadn't flown it would have tumbled, and from that altitude you would be recovering fragments!

    As for the mysterious wing damage - did it have a trapped air pocket that blew out as the pressure dropped, I wonder? You can clearly see it on release from the balloon - maybe something on the underside of the main payload?

    Anyway, brilliant job! Have another round (if you haven't been doing that all week!)

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    On today's Telegraph site

    Better late than never

  31. NoOnions

    Metro Newspaper

    Page 31, Thursday, November 11 2010.

    A whole page!

    "To infinity and beyond... in a paper plane"

    Beers all round!

  32. Chris Long
    Thumb Up


    I'd just like to add my congratulations... an epic adventure which justly rewarded all the effort.

    I was a bit negative on earlier stories, mainly because I'm more interested in aircraft than high-altitude ballooning - I was looking forward to PARIS's flight tests and finding out what her glide ratio was, etc, but your priorities were obviously elswhere.

    The photos and video are superb - good job.

  33. Dabooka

    Top stuff chaps

    Inspiration to boffins in sheds everywhere, I've been enthralled and entertained since its inception and glad to see some of the press recognition it's received.

    With regards to the "did it fly or did it fall" brigade, I pose one simple question; who cares? It's survived better than a BOAC Comet and they flew, so don't clog up these boards with your bleating. Go do it yourselves and post your pics and vids for us to comment on.


  34. Bob Foster
    Thumb Up

    Who said Britain has no space program?

    Was really amazed to see El Reg and PARIS in the Metro this morning, congratulations guys you are a beacon of enterprise and achievement in these dark times.

    I look forward to the first paper spacecraft moon landing and spacestation with great anticipation

  35. Bristol Dave

    Camera location?

    Am I the only one to question the camera's location? Seriously, almost all of the screen is taken up by a static plastic head.


    1. PC Paul

      Re: camera location

      If we're not even allowed to ask why the 'plane' had no flight tests, no trimming, in fact nothing that a real 'plane' would have except a shape, then asking about camera angles will probably get you banned...

      Seriously, what happened to the 'science depends on being allowed to ask questions' theme that usually pervades The Register? All I've ever said is that the 'aeroplane' part of the 'Paper Aeroplane Released Into Space' could have been so much more than it was, for not much extra effort.

      And I just get slapped down every time...

  36. durandal

    Slow news day?

    BBC news at 6!

  37. This post has been deleted by its author

  38. Mike 102
    Paris Hilton


    nothing less than EPIC


  39. Robin Szemeti
    Paris Hilton

    Why did you do that?

    Why stand the heli bottle vertical? there is no liquid in it ... it would have worked just as well lying down, without the risk of it falling over. its never a good idea to stand gas cylinders upright unless they are chained to somethign solid ... otherwise, when they fall over, they either break someones leg, ig you are lucky .. or snap their valve assembly off and leave the scene like a large gas powered torpedo.

    Lie it down next time chaps, paris prefers it lying down, so should you.

  40. TheOfficailRuiGFanpage
    Thumb Up


    i think this project was a total sucess and all the people involved should be put on a wall of fame somwhere inconspicuos


This topic is closed for new posts.