back to article Our PARIS becomes GLOBAL MEDIA SENSATION

The Paper Aircraft Released Into Space (PARIS) balloon mothership spaceplane project - named in homage to the socialite and inadvertent internet sensation of all our hearts - has finally won the recognition she always deserved. The plane, and our heroic Playmonaut, have made it onto the front page of the Telegraph, inside the …


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  1. Ken MAC
    Thumb Up

    Playmonauts spiritual Grandad on R4

    Now everyone's getting in on PARIS themed items.

    This afternoon (Thu 11/11 14:15) The Radio 4 Drama is of Col Joe Kittingers Balloon assisted High Altitude sky dives.

    Maybe the playmonaut could chill out and tune in to hear how it was in the old days .....

    Cheers MAC

    1. Samuel Williams

      Daily Mail?

      Aren't they worried that paper-based airborne transport will simply provide another way in for gangs of illegal Playmobil immigrants? Where will it all end?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Was the Mail headline something like...


        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          and down in Norwich

          University of East Anglia CRU reports that reckless use of shiny paper for space exploration is totally unjustified. That latest PARIS flight ‘green house’ outrage has caused *global temperatures to rise by a massive .00000000000000001 degrees over the next century.

          *assuming paper based air traffic increases by the anticipated 2000% per year.

          ... personally I welcome our paper aviation overlords.

        2. Mostor Astrakan

          Followed by...


          Ah.... The good old oncological ontology blog.

  2. James Hughes 1

    Did I miss it

    Or was there no video footage from the plane itself? I don't remember seeing any, or any planning for it. Given the cheapness and lightness of mini DV cams, seems a glaring omission.

    Congrats on rest of mission though.

  3. Andy Hards
    Thumb Up

    Finally some positive recognition for El Reg

    Shouldn't we get a new icon to commemorate this moment?

    A Playmonaught maybe?

  4. Bill B
    Thumb Up

    Yup I loved the story

    Good on the Reg for getting in the papers. The editors sexed up the story a bit .. like "the team then tracked the plane using GPS as it took an hour and a half to glide down" .. or .. "the paper plane glided back taking dozens of photographs".

    But that's the big media for you. At least you got the publicity and hopefully more sponsors for Paris II

    1. Anomalous Cowherd Silver badge

      Sexed it up?

      Surely that would have been "the paper plane was capable of being launched towards targets in Britain within 45 minutes, carrying a payload which we have been unable to confirm does not contain biological agents".

  5. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Gotta get the ages in

    Congrats on the recognition. I'm always mystified by stories in newspapers - they seem to be fixated on details such as peoples' ages, marital status etc. It's so bizarre.

    1. Bill B
      Thumb Down


      The Playmonaut is married???

      I am devastated!

  6. GeorgeTuk

    Hurrah for old school spiffing ingenuity!

    I'll drink to that, its nearly lunch time!

  7. KCM
    Paris Hilton

    PARIS In Metro

    PARIS was also in Metro this morning.

    Paris.. because she gets everywhere....

  8. Jimmy Floyd
    Thumb Up

    The Metro

    I think I also saw it on someone else's copy of The Metro on the Tube this morning (obviously I wouldn't be seen with a copy myself). Actually, come to think of it, perhaps that's why you didn't publicise your mention in that particular publication...

    1. gav_taylor

      page 31, full spread

      yeah it was in this mornings Metro, got itself a full page..

      nice picture of the Playmonaut.

      you can read it in their online version - (page 33 online)

  9. billse10
    Thumb Up

    News24 just covered it

    and described as "the story of the day"

  10. Andrew Newstead

    And to think...

    We were all there at the beginning and followed this through to the end, doesn't that give us all a warm fuzzy feeling?

    Damn straight!

    Well done again guys, maybe this will help in a small way to wake up Britain to doing great (and interesting) things again.

    BTW has Jame May been in touch for his ManLab yet?

  11. JasonH

    And they call this 'news'?

    So let me get this straight - humankind has reached a zenith of global communications and near-speed-of-light connectivity for the masses, allowing electronic content in the form of emails, blog posts, twitter feeds, not to mention pictures and videos, of the spectacular PARIS project achievements to be delivered almost in real-time to anyone with an internet connection, anywhere round the globe...

    But it takes the great British press fourteen days (14 days?! 2 weeks!!) to publish this as 'news'. This is not news, this is 'olds'.

    No wonder I read The Register - all hail our vulturine scoop messengers!

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Where do I put a title?

      The Aussies were able to cover it a little more timely (November 02).

  12. Bob Foster
    Thumb Up

    Inspirational stuff

    Congratulations guys you are a beacon of hope in these dark times.

    With proper funding the UK could become the centre of the world paper space plane industry

  13. Blofeld's Cat
    Black Helicopters

    Curiously enough...

    I was on a Virgin train the other day and the catering trolley had run out of straws. You don't think that...

    1. Daniel Evans


      That's just Virgin's normal service quality?

    2. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

      just be glad that...

      ...they weren't out of lemon-soaked paper napkins. Might have got ugly in there.

      1. Scorchio!!

        Ah yes

        "Please return to your seats, please return to your seats"...

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Clutching at straws

      As far as I recall, PARIS isn't a Virgin ...

    4. Stratman


      It would seem they have stupidly high contention ratios on their trains as well.

  14. graeme leggett Silver badge

    daily mail underplaying El Reg?

    Not surprised to see Daily Mail downplay this site, you think the least they could have done was give a link. But then people might start reading all those sceptical opinions and criticism and pee-taking of the Mail's stance.

    No fraternity within (Fleet Street) journalism.

  15. Elmer Phud



    We knew about this ages ago, just what's going on if the Fail isn't carping on about dirty students smashing up the home of democracy and 'all that is good and great'. Ah, either it's 'cos they recongise thier own kids on the demo or it's they never checked te 'PARIS' reference before reserving front page space.

    Anyway - we feel just a bit smug as we read all about it here first and watched it live(ish) on Google Earth.

  16. cyborg
    Thumb Up

    Heard this on LBC this morning

    Was both surprised and delighted in equal measures: Nick Ferrari was gushing with absolutely no criticism whatsoever.

    I'm sure this will bring a few more eyeballs to the Reg.

  17. Justin Clements
    Thumb Up

    BBC Lunchtime News!

    Well done!

    Can't wait for the next project!

  18. Anonymous John


    I've just seen it on the BBC 1 news. Still insisting it reached space though.

    1. John I'm only dancing
      Thumb Up

      Cap'n Oates

      Heard his dulcet tones on Radio 5 on my way home from work. Nothing like the Beeb keeping abrest of what's happening in the world.

  19. richard 7

    And now on

  20. stucs201
    Paris Hilton


    Does somone who knows what they're doing with such things fancy updating the Wikipedia entry? Its whinging about a lack of non-primary references, a few links to the above articles should fix this nicely.

    Needs linking to Playmobil too :)

    Paris? Well duh!

  21. James Pickett


    "the ruthless media barons who control the Register"

    And they are..?

  22. James Pickett
    Paris Hilton


    "inadvertent internet sensation of all our hearts"

    Are you sure you've got the right organ?

  23. Andus McCoatover


    Saw it in the Telegraph* this morning about 6am (UK time). Had a little chuckle about the 'space enthusiasts', nowt much about El Reg being an IT news source...

    Now, were you behind that 'phantom missile' over California the other day? Maybe not, as you've used up your beer and travel budget....

    ...Hey, wait a minute, has the 'playmonought' gone AWOL???


  24. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Paper plane launched into space

    Telegraph, BBC a bunch of amateurs the lot of em..Have they no respect for PARIS

    It was RELEASED, there was no LAUNCH.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    BBC video clip - John Oates speaks!

    shame they didn't freeze frame when you see the Vulture 1 in the distance.

  26. Glen Forde

    PARIS is going 'more' global

    Congratulations! you! are! now! featured! on! the! Yahoo! front! page!

  27. Dave 62

    tell them they got it wrong

    In addition to my earlier comment, here is a link which will allow you to report the factual inaccuracy of the article.

    Let them have it.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    In Italy, too!

    To the stratosphere and back on a paper plane

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Deserves a prize for effective PR expenditure

    The Telegraph online edition has the story in its Space section, jostling alongside discoveries of galaxies, space shuttle developments and other multi-billion dollar research projects. That's very good value in PR terms, and I expect The Reg to be inundated with enquiries from publicity-hungry science institutes worldwide.

    That said, eight thousand quid seems a lot for a few sheets of paper, a packet of drinking straws and a balloon. Please can I be the procurement officer for the next project?

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Knowing El Reg the budget was mostly taken up by the drinks bill

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        That's why I want to get in on the act.

  30. Dave 62

    no credit, gits

    On the beeb, no mention of El Reg, just "amateur space enthusiasts".

    Thanks for that you c**ts.

    I think the next step is to have an onboard cam and/or get it higher.

    As for the acronym, Low Orbit Helium Ascent... Nnnsomethingsomething?

    Put something into orbit guys, put something into orbit. Pwease?

    Is that possible with a helium lifter? Perhaps some kind of a semi-rigid envelope?

    1. Andus McCoatover

      Put something into orbit....

      Do they still make "Jetex" motors nowadays? Think they need no oxygen. Might defeat the 'escape velocity' myth.

      Nah, maybe not....

  31. SteveD
    Thumb Up


    My local paper are going to print Jon's excellent photo stitch up. Also have been told it's going out on BBC world.

    If Pillinger wants a hand with Beagle 3, he knows who to call.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Marvellous stuff.

    Though the Mail seems to have failed to slap their own copyright message over your images - they must be having an off-day.

    I do wonder about the particular shot the Telegraph used:

    I mean, it was high enough to see the curvature of the Earth, but is it just me, or is the Earth being particularly awkward and curving the wrong way for that picture?

    1. Andus McCoatover


      No way. It was obviously the fact that the plane got to such dizzy heights and the Plastic Pilot had had a bit too much 'dutch courage' and slumped over.

      I see what you're saying, tho, but the ground's the thing, not the blue upper bits. Think you're seeing weather patterns, maybe...

      But, as we know, the Earth can be particularly awkward. Gaia's like that, fickle minx...

  33. Danny 4

    is now on BBC prime time news at six

    No way. On this day, rememberance day, the news makes it sound like PARIS is plucky Brits conquer space dambusters style.

    Nice one, Reg!

  34. Steve John

    Well done chaps...

    Just saw you on the BBC 6 o'clock news. Good work!

  35. Hoe
    Thumb Up

    Just seen you on the beeb...

    BBC 6 O'Clock News, well done guys!

    The PARIS Challenge! Can't wait to send up a plane with a USB Missile Launcher LOL!

  36. rob miller
    Thumb Up

    bbc world in nigeria

    yeah, just the beeb worldwide -- but good to see the vulture on the wingtips here even if they didn't give the deserved credit.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Engadget have picked up the baton too

    Although it seems they have absolutely no idea what Teh Reg actually is. Forum invasion, anyone?

  38. N2

    Very well done

    A Stirling success & I hope your radio engineer has recovered from the stress of loosing the bottle opener!

  39. burundi
    Thumb Up

    Wot - no mention?

    Saw your piece on the BBC, nice work, shame they didn't mention El Reg or manage to fit in any PARIS jokes, but never mind, we in the know saw the vulture logo and felt proud.

  40. madclarinet
    Thumb Up

    BBC World News

    It made it onto BBC World news. I am just outside San Francisco and watched it on a PBS channel.

    It was at the end of the programme but hey-ho I'm not complaining. Not much mention of el reg though but the video did have el reg's name on it.,

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well done el Reg!

    Saw it on the Beeb and recognised the roundrels too.

    On a totally different tack:

    Britain leads paper aeroplane space research.

    Britain's economics make as much noise as paper tiger?


  42. Paul Stevenson

    It's hit Google News now

    35 Articles, and counting, including Sky News

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    World Famous in New Zealand too

    You made the World pages of Wellington's Dominion Post!

  44. Richard Scratcher

    Here on Mars too!

    The Martian Inquirer carried the story and suggested it was part of some future plan to invade us.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Orbital heiresses

    Orbit is generally very difficult and very expensive. But I'm wondering if a very small and largely useless satellite that goes "ping", much like Sputnik, is not possible on an amateur budget. A ping-pong ball with a battery and transmitter inside it and a trailing-wire antenna would only weigh a few grams.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      We've already got one.

      Prospero X3 - is pretty much just that, ok its a bit bigger with a few solar cells.. if you want to find it tune in on 137.560 MHz

    2. Dave 62


      Sputnik on a budget, sounds like a plan.

      El Reg should be looking for sponsorship though me thinks because "a budget" might be a big budget. I see no reason why not though. It's only like, 100 miles, that's like a 50 min. drive down the M1, traffic permitting. Maybe helium isn't suitable for that though. Should we maybe check with NASA and that lot? I don't know how low they put satellites but it might be considered rude if we sort of.. hit one.

      I would like to insure Mr.Scratcher that we have no plans for invasion, that is of course unless the smoking ban has yet to hit Martian pubs.

  46. Mike48US


    God ole USofA the story showed up at but nowhere did the name The Register come up! Bit, at least you made the news...

  47. windywoo


    The shadows are all wrong and there is clear evidence that a UFO has been airbrushed out. I have contacted Walt Disney and Stanley Kubrick who were rumoured to be behind the faking of the original moon landings, and more recently have both faked their own deaths so that they could more easily fake more projects such as this.

    Niether Mr. Disney nor Mr. Kubrick has got back to me yet but when they do I suspect we will see that this conspiracy goes all the way to the top, with both the ex-labour prime minister and the coalition government in on the cover up. The British space industry has been desperate for funding in these times of recession and publicity stunts such as this one will provide them with the money they need for more helium, duct tape and mobilo figures.

  48. Eddy Ito


    Chalk up Hong Kong's International Business Times and India's The Economic Times as well. It's simply a fine thing you lot have done. I can sense this turning into a global scholastic challenge. It won't be long before Carnegie Mellon is snubbing DARPA because it's devoting too much brain power to PIGS* in Space VI

    *PARIS Intercontinental Global Sailer of course. Redundant? Yeah En Space, what's it to ya?

  49. Zimmer

    BBC Slideshow

    ...and (finally) a credit (obliquely) for El Reg on a slideshow of pics on the BBC News site....

  50. Trollslayer

    Well deserved

    PARIS is a classic engineering project and a great example to show kids what engineering is really about.

    You've earned this Friday's lunchtime tipple!

  51. Scorchio!!

    Fame spreads

    I had intended to raise this little item:

    It's not in your article. Tsk!

  52. Mips
    Jobs Horns


    Was a bit confused the sub-head says PARIS released at 23mile height but in the body says 17miles. Typical Telegraph. The typos may have been spell checked out but what was the editor doing.

    Now here is a thing: the media reporting on the media... who report on the media... who report on the media.. who eventually disappear up their own...

  53. spaxe

    Spanish newspaper

    You have also appeared on a well-known spanish newspaper:

    Of course, they highlight the fact that it all occured in Ávila!

    1. Anonymous Coward

      "Paper plane release into space -

      no Britons injured."

  54. Steve Dulieu

    Name for the launch vehicle?

    Now that it's been shown to work, how about a decent name for the box hanging off a balloon that took Vulture1 to launch altitude? May I humbly suggest;

    Extra-atmosphric Expanding Envelope Glider Image Recording Launcher?

    or EeeGirl for short

    Cheers, Steve.

  55. AlexT
    Thumb Up

    The Sky is falling down here in Pelayos de la Presa

    Well Done!, good to see some real engineers playing around here. Please let me know when you plan for a new launch to be there and support. Good news like these one are not happening frequently. Congrats!

  56. Mr Young

    £8k cost? yeeeee right!

    That is so cheap I feel a Paris Icon thing upon me? Actually - was that a £4K beer budget for £4k project? I hope Mr Playmonaut got his danger money paid oot ok

  57. Tim 48
    Thumb Up

    Finally made th enews in the US

    This showed up on msnbc today via

    Loved the entire project and can't wait for Vulture 2....

  58. Chris Fleming


    Paper Aquatic Recoverable Is Submergible.

    How far down can you go salty sea wise.

    Yeah I know "water proof" the paper bit.

    Just a thought.

    Chris in the tropics.

  59. bugalugs

    Saturday night down under

    and google are showing 9.85 million returns !

    shirley this is a situation our publishers will welcome.

  60. Yerk Toader

    "We've got you on a tuba."

    "Anyway, Swindon, I'm nearly at the moon."

    "Actually, that's an understatement."

    "Have you got more ladder? We're not quite at the moon yet. But I can see right over

    the top of the houses. It's fantastic!"

    XD Way to go Reg!

    1. Andus McCoatover

      (Playmonout voice) Lester!! Lester!!

      "I can see your house from here..."

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    17 Miles....

    Cool - I wonder how fast you can make hydrogen - in cubic meters at atmospheric pressure, from 240V @ 10A....

    (thinks BIG taped together thing garbage bag balloon - and going higher than Kettinger - with a small load)

    Actually the whole project is rather fab - and the paper plane, with paper straws and skin - very clever.

    I'd like to use the base vented plain non elastic balloon - but a HUGE ONE... to get the lift, the altitude and the duration - as the latex ones - slightly compress the hydrogen and then tend to go pop at high altitude - either that or use a string of them, only partially inflated, to like barely lifting their own weight - so when they go up and expand in the altitude, they go WAY up and expand heaps instead of popping.

    Don't understand why the release mechanism was so big, I could have done that all up in under 50 grams.

    i also would have designed the plane to glide - in a self steering way, back to the launch point with an articulated glide ratio of 10%.

    Rather than just open my big mouth, I think I will.

    I have actually been shit green with envy and desire to do what Kettinger did - and I'd like to do what he did, more than anything else in the world.

  62. Keller Drozdick

    Even made the news in the US

    Just heard a summary of PARIS on the morning national news program on National Public Radio (NPR) here in the states. So we are a bit late to the party, what else is new. Looking forward to LOHAN, which perhaps our news folk can start to cover before it is finished.

  63. SteveD
    Thumb Up

    just recovered found bottle opener

    Well the radio Guy has recovered, I found a bottle opener eventually. For those interested I have grabbed as many news video reports as possible and put them on youtube. Hell it's my 15 mins of fame. I think the confusion about the altitude comes from my local papers' report, they asked how far the plane flew and I said 23km aprox, gave the altitude also but they got confused.

    As for Amateurs launching satellites we do, although on commercial rockets. We are working on a satellite to educate school kids, on the fun of science. If you want to contribute please do. (i am not part of that team)

    I really want to congratulate Lester on the stunning engineering of the plane, the pictures do not show it in its full glory, or the amount of effort Lester put into it. If that does not end up in a museum with Lester's name attached there is no justice.

    1. Mr Young

      Hahaha, result

      You found the bottle opener? Mission accomplished - tracking device and plane and bottle opener recovered SIR! Impressive stuff (unless it photoshop) and thanks!

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