back to article Heroic Playmonaut wowed by LOHAN's bulging package

Following the recent successful fitting and testing of our Vulture 2 spaceplane's Raspberry Pi and Picam rig, the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team is relieved to announce that we've wrapped the permanent installation of the rest of the aircraft's avionics. What's more, our heroic Playmonaut now has the proper …


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  1. Peter Simpson 1

    As an American...

    ...I'm glad to see you remembered the cupholder!

    1. ukgnome

      And as a Brit...

      I'm glad he's not riding in the shotgun seat.

      1. ItsNotMe

        Re: And as a Brit...

        "I'm glad he's not riding in the shotgun seat."

        No, but as a retired Airline type... he IS in the First Officer's/Co-Pilot's seat. ;-)

  2. Roger Stenning

    It is indeed right and proper..

    ..that the pilot have a good old cup of tea to hand, but how the heck is he going to drink the rapidly cooling thing, if he's got his brain bucket on his bonce?!

    It's cruelty to playmonauts, that's what it is! Give the poor pilot a straw, for heavens' sake!

  3. horsham_sparky

    dont' forget

    to check your centre of gravity now that all the kit and kaboodle are in.. would be a shame to see it nosedive instead of gliding elegantly.. it would spill playmonaut's cuppa-char!

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

      Re: dont' forget

      We're on the case.

      1. horsham_sparky

        Re: dont' forget

        a test glide to check the trim might be prudent, local RC flying clubs are a good place to go and get help from, the gliders use powered planes to get them going :-)

        and while I'm at it, the best way to suck an egg is to make sure you don't get one too big, and to thoroughtly wash the chicken poo from it first :-p I'm sure you've thought of all this stuff already.. nice work on the assembly :-)

  4. Martin Gregorie

    Rubber band problem?

    Rubber bands stiffen when they get to the sort of temp where LOHAN is going. Does this also weaken them? If so , replacing the bands with thin cable ties may be a good idea.

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

      Re: Rubber band problem?

      Yes, temperature may be an issue. We'll review the rubber bands.

      1. Peter Simpson 1

        Re: Rubber band problem?

        Silicone bands?

        // one of the many *other* uses for that versatile substance....

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

          Re: Re: Rubber band problem?

          A possibility, but see Dave Akerman's comment about interior heating from the electronics.

    2. daveake

      Re: Rubber band problem?

      True, but it'll be nice and warm in there what with the Pi etc.

  5. Simon Rockman

    Why does it need an autopilot

    When it has a Playmonaut to fly the thing?

    1. Martin Budden

      Re: Why does it need an autopilot

      The autopilot is for when the Playmonaut has to go to the toilet. He only has a tiny bladder, after all.

  6. Barry Tabrah

    Operational Redundancy Opportunity

    Looks like there's enough room for a Co-Playmonaut in there.

    1. Fink-Nottle

      Re: Operational Redundancy Opportunity

      The co-playmonaut would have to be a miniature of Michel Lambert, France's second best racing driver.

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

        Re: Re: Operational Redundancy Opportunity

        We may have to open this one up to a public vote, if there is finally enough room for a second crew member. No guarantees, though - the electronics boys are eyeing more toys...

        1. Captain DaFt

          Re: Operational Redundancy Opportunity

          "the electronics boys are eyeing more toys..."

          More? With all the software and hardware it's already sporting, adding more may just turn the LOHAN launch into the advent of the singularity!

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

            Re: Re: Operational Redundancy Opportunity

            Indeed. I am fearful of a rift ripped through the very fabric of time and space.

  7. Mark 85

    Missing a servo????

    You have pitch and yaw covered. Isn't there a need for roll?

    Enough of my being picky. Well done.

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

      Re: Missing a servo????

      The canards operate independently, so they also control roll.

      1. John Sager

        Re: Missing a servo????

        Will the canards give you enough roll control, being close in to the fuselage? Are you expecting to have any aerodynamic control at launch altitude?

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

          Re: Re: Missing a servo????

          The canards will have sufficient roll control, but there is the issue of lack of air to consider. It's all about velocity.

      2. IT Drone

        Re: Missing a servo????

        Tea... Rolls... Will there be bacon too?

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

          Re: Re: Missing a servo????

          Yes there will. Watch this space.

  8. Steve Crook

    Oxygen supply?

    Don't see any tanks or does the suit incorporate a rebreather?

    1. daveake

      Re: Oxygen supply?

      I'm sure Lester has plans to add an oxygen tank, complete with a stirrer ...

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

        Re: Re: Oxygen supply?

        I actually think there is room for that and a minibar.

  9. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    You do realise that by putting the pilot in the right seat

    you've demoted him to co-pilot?

    Just sayin'...

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

      Re: You do realise that by putting the pilot in the right seat

      He's going solo ;-)

  10. Wanting more

    Is there going to be a test flight before the high-altitude run? There's a lot to go wrong in there so a shakedown might be useful.

    Also looks like there's space for a copilot (or sexy stewardess).

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "Also looks like there's space for a copilot (or sexy stewardess)."

      That's the space for the inflatable emergency autopilot. Although you do normally need a sexy stewardess to blow him (up).

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Faye B
      Paris Hilton

      There'll aways be Paris

      I vote for our dear Paris Hilton to be the model for the sexy co-pilot/stewardess. Do they do a play-mobil figure of her (presumably it's a very expensive one).

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

        Re: There'll aways be Paris

        We do have a Playmobil blonde in a bikini, which has in the past represented the lovely Paris...

  11. JonP

    PAVA Antenna

    The PAVA ... has three antennas, which are actually guitar strings.

    "G" strings, I assume?!

    (someone had to say it!)

    1. Martin Budden

      Re: PAVA Antenna

      Air on a G string

  12. Pirate Dave Silver badge


    Good work on all that.

    With all the gizmo gear in LOHAN, eh, how much effect do you guys expect the rocket engine to have? My original take on LOHAN (back when you started) was that it would be small and light like PARIS, so a rocket engine would really make it go, err, like a rocket. But with all the weight you guys are adding, is it going to do much more than clear the fantastical flying truss?

    (I'm not a rocket guy, so I'm talking out my arse here...)

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

      Re: Cool

      Don't you worry, it'll clear the truss, and then some.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    This thingamajig will go all the way up to ISS?

  14. Pet Peeve


    Does your intrepid pilot have a cockpit window, or is he flying on instruments? It's not like there's any shortage of the latter...

    The tea cup is so perfectly British!

  15. WillbeIT

    Don't rely on USB

    I reckon, el reg, Lester et al, that that dodgy USB connection is the only one that will let you down. At least clamp or rig it so it is guaranteed to stay coupled with LOHAN.

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

      Re: Don't rely on USB

      All potentially-vulnerable connectors will be epoxied. Look carefully at the Futaba S.BUS out cable here:

      It's got a smidge of space-grade adhesive on the right holding it in place. We're not going to take any chances with stuff working loose.

  16. imanidiot Silver badge

    Good show

    I'll join in on advising some CoG checks before attempting to fly.

    Other than that, looking very good!

  17. Gartal

    optional pedantry

    "The tea cup is so perfectly British". Actually it is a mug.

  18. Gartal


    Ah I remember when I was a kid and we built one of these thingy's. It was powered by good old British engineering at it's peak.

    We had blister steel for the wing ribs as worked over by blokes with 18lb sledge hammers, a donk built by the redoubtable Mr. Watt at his Soho Works. The GPS doover lackey was I have to admin not quite up to the spec you have here, a piece of lodestone on a string. We did have a bar, several in fact, one for the Pilot and one for the lower order. And hot water for tea was available on tap from the boiler provided by Messers Babcock and Wilcox. Said boiler was a chain fed Sargasso fired arrangement with rather lovely glass and brass sight glasses and a spot for hanging rubber bands and number eight fencing wire.

    As cautioned by others above, we had some problems with details like yaw and pitch, rock and roll and the fact that the wings were clad in cast iron panels but other than that it was a fine machine.

    During the flight we filmed some bloke heading off the moon in an orange space ship, piloted by of all things a dog with a hand (paw) book on Electronics for Dogs.

    Landing was a piece of cake, we aimed at the Earth and we hit it. You can still view our landing place in Arizona (of course the media got hold of it and said it was a meteor, didn't want to frighten the horses.)

    Great job LOHANeers, keep up the good work.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Holy crap! this thing looks heavy. I hope you strap-on a large one to give it sufficient thrust.

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