back to article America mounts attempt to top the Register's world record spaceflight

It's come to our attention that a crack squad of US students is poised to make an attempt on El Reg's Guinness World Record for the highest launch of a paper plane. On 28 October 2010, our Paper Aircraft Released Into Space (PARIS) Vulture 1 spaceplane glided into the history books from a dizzying 89,591ft* (27,310m). Well, …


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  1. Harvey Trowell
    Paris Hilton

    Aye, jolly good luck to them.

    PARIS has spent enough time on top, after all.

  2. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Let the race begin

    Science is fun for all

  3. Annihilator
    Paris Hilton

    Bow release

    Any indication of how they're triggering the release though?

    As said, best of luck to them.

    1. Penguin

      Re: Bow release

      I should imagine they will be running a linkage from a servo to the trigger of the release aid. I don’t think that is such a good idea, compound release aids are very smooth at releasing bow strings and can hold 80 lbs + of draw weight without issue but even with something like a Tru Ball – which uses ball bearings on the end of the jaws – I don’t think they will survive the environment without locking solid, I’d be very worried about the cold. Plus, for obvious reasons the pull of most release aids tends to be fairly light and the sear quite sensitive to knocks and buffeting. I may be wrong, I’ve never shot a bow at that sort of altitude before but I would hope they would give it some serious testing (I’m half tempted to put a release aid in the freezer myself and see what happens).

      Good luck to them, surely their next step is going to be a rocket powered beastie.

      1. The First Dave

        Re: Bow release

        Given how confused they are about the terminology of the release aid, I don't have much confidence that it will work - premature release seems quite likely, but also it seems unlikely that they will have enough weight on their 'string' for it to work as expected, if vibration on the way up hasn't shaken it loose (no pun intended)

  4. JimC

    I wonder how far it will fly?

    The way Paris ended up so close to the launch point caused me to wonder whether it didn't so much fly as plummet...

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      Re: I wonder how far it will fly?

      It won't fly - it will stall and spin on release and will never recover, with such a high wing aspect ratio.

    2. Martin 47

      Re: I wonder how far it will fly?

      I think you are forgetting about the heroic pilot they had on board, you should give the little hero full credit for managing to fly it back so close to the launch point.

      Looks like the yanks have not appreciated this either.

  5. Elmer Phud

    As much as I'd love to see the El-Reg team with PARIS on top, I'd also love to hear them say "We'd have got away with it if it hadn't been for them meddling kids!"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RE: "see the El-Reg team with PARIS on top"

      I really, really, wish you hadn't said that. Where's the mind bleach?

  6. Tank boy

    Woo Hoo!!!

    Go Screaming Eagles!!! Poor bastards, this is the most exciting thing to do in Evansville Indiana.

  7. wowfood

    Excuse me

    On 28 October 2010, our Paper Aircraft Released Into Space (PARIS) Vulture 1 spaceplane glided into the history books from a dizzying 89,591ft* (27,310m).

    Now didn't we have a poll not so long ago with regards to measurements?

    Metric only, with exception to aircraft altitude in feet, and a pint of beer.

    Which begs two questions. Does Paris actually classify as an aircraft? If so then by El Reg rullings, you shouldn't have included the metric conversion. And if not, then you shouldn't have used feet. Disgraceful.

    And if you're going to convert it, then why not into a unit we all understand.and tell is it soared from the height of 2962.1849 double decker buses. Or 197.4788 Brontosaurus.

    1. mccp

      Does Paris actually classify as an aircraft?


      I was also wondering why the altitude was also provided in metres - over-zealous sub-editing?

    2. Fuzz

      Re: Excuse me

      "And if you're going to convert it, then why not into a unit we all understand.and tell is it soared from the height of 2962.1849 double decker buses. Or 197.4788 Brontosaurus."

      I don't think you can use double decker buses or dinosaurs for height only length. I think for height you need to use Nelson's Column so 525x the height of nelson's column.

      1. MrT
        Paris Hilton

        Now that's...

        ... a unit of measurement that would attract Paris' attention...

  8. Monkey Bob

    Dear El Reg SPB

    If they beat the record will there be a PARIS 2 after LOHAN?

    1. Bronek Kozicki

      Re: Dear El Reg SPB

      There definitely should! And give it enough lift to make it fly to another continent !

  9. ukgnome

    Quote please

    What has the SPB playmanaut got to say on this matter?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Quote please

      He was quoted as saying...

      "Spell my name right lawn ornament boy!"

    2. Mr Young

      Re: Quote please

      Playmonaut looks really serious about his mission - I'd probably bet he's training and got a helicopter on standby as we speak?

  10. sebacoustic
    Black Helicopters

    snub at el-reg?

    I noticed that in their coverage of the PARIS project they offer 3 links, one to the BBC, one to the Daily Mail and one to the Telegraph. "The Register" doesn't get a mention, you're just a team of "space enthusiasts".

    For that affront I think you should consider shooting the plane down with LOHAN.

    Have a good weekend everyone.

    1. John Colman

      Re: snub at el-reg?

      I can see the headlines now:

      "British plane shoots down US experimental aircraft over US soil."

      "US president Barack Obama authorises US Navy Seal assoult on 10 Downing Street"

      "The bodies of David Cameron and Nick Clegg buried at sea from the deck of the aircraft carrier USS George HW Bush"

      "Lester Haines wins sweeping landslide victory at the general election"

      Too far?

      1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

        Re: snub at el-reg? @John Colman

        You forgot to add "...and appoints Lewis Page as the new Secretary of State for Defence"

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: snub at el-reg? @John Colman

          You forgot to add "...and appoints Lewis Page as the new Secretary of State for Defence"

          Surely Lewis would be better as Minister for the Environment.

          Ta, it's the one with the portable icemaker in the pocket.

  11. Evil Auditor Silver badge

    I see, they have a wind tunnel at hand...

  12. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    Maybe a bit late now

    But did no-one think of giving Felix Baumgartner a paper plane to chuck out just before his own exit?

    1. Faye B

      Re: Maybe a bit late now

      Damn, that would have been so easy. A quick piece of A4 photocopy paper folded into a dart, he could have used all that waiting time going up to make it in, then pop it out of the door just before jumping.

      1. The First Dave

        Re: Maybe a bit late now

        And that would have been an actual "paper plane" not just a model made of paper...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Maybe a bit late now

      Can I be churlish and suggest that Mr Baumgartner, although obviously a tough cookie, had rather a lot of planned advantages, compared to Aleksander Konovalev who had to eject unexpectedly at Mach 2.6 / 59,000ft in 1981.... and did so properly with his ejector seat, despite fire, spinning and disintegration, and then got back to work the next month. At the time this was assumed to be the world record, as no-one knew for sure about the

      SR-71 breakup and unassisted bailout.

      In fact it looks like he might still be working at the Sokol (Eagle) aircraft plant in Nizhny Novgorod (Gorky) maybe still testing stuff, but pretty close to retirement if he is. I have no idea if he is chatty or not, maybe I should email or text him ;)

  13. Faye B

    Glide or fall?

    From the picture it looks like their glider will have a very poor glide slope, with such thin wings and a fat fuselage it will have high drag and low lift. Of course with the extra weight of that electronics payload it should reach a pretty good forward speed, perhaps sufficient to rip off those flimsy little wings. Not sour grapes, honest, just making an observation. I look forward to seeing it plummet.

    1. Asiren

      Re: Glide or fall?

      If at no point does it "glide", is it still considered a paper aeroplane?

      (Might just be 3 paper planes instead...)

  14. StillNoCouch
    Paris Hilton

    Their Project Website

  15. Hardcastle the ancient
    Thumb Down

    Half hearted

    Have they got a vaguely suggestive name? A lego figure in the pilot's seat?

    Not really trying.

    1. Faye B

      Re: Half hearted

      Perhaps they are going to fit in a Buzz-Lightyear, given the shape of the fuselage.

  16. Ian Michael Gumby

    Just curious...

    Why no one has thought to use a lifting body design?

    Would make things a bit easier in terms of delivery.

    Flight however would be a different matter.

    Cue to Lego Steve Austin screen shot!

  17. SteveD

    They will be using the same software for tracking as used by PARIS, Their query about the software is how I got the heads up that the flight was happening. For those interested the software is APRSIS32

  18. SteveD

    balloon burst at around 87,900ft would have got slightly higher, but not by enough, the plane's tracker did not work, so I don't know yet if it released. PARIS retains the record.

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

      PARIS retains record

      Yup, I have the balloon burst at 26,792m (87,899ft). Looks like PARIS is still the Guinness World Record holder.

  19. SteveD

    the tracker on the plane lost lock and was transmitting the default 33333M (109372FT) So at least they can Radio Direction Find it. in case anyone wonders about that

  20. Peter Stone

    Given the Bonid articles on El Reg, perhaps the best way to deal with the American plane would be to launch LOHAN into orbit & arrange for the front to open & swallow it. - just a thought

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