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back to article Our Vulture 2 spaceplane sprouts sleek pointy beak

The nylon dust has almost settled on the epic design and build saga of our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) Vulture 2 spaceplane as 3D printer 3T RPD Ltd fires up the machine to craft the last pieces of our revolutionary aircraft. Yes indeed, ladies and gentlemen, the crack design team of Southampton Uni postgrads - …

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Great work

Looking good! Nice work chaps. The only downside is poor old Vulture 1 is starting to look like a spray painted egg box by comparison. Where is the old girl resting up, anyway? The Smithsonian?

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DJO
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Yes, but

Very nice, only where is the intrepid playmanaut going to sit? I see no cockpit.

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(Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

Re: Yes, but

The playmonaut will have to sit inside. In the time scale available, we couldn't resolve the issue of a cockpit canopy which wouldn't get ripped right off at launch. We do have possibility of resolving this issue with a redesigned nose upper section.

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DJO
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Re: Yes, but

Lester, can't argue with that.

I suppose you could paint a trompe-l'œil cockpit canopy occupied by a smiling playmonaut, perhaps smoking a pipe to maintain conceptual continuity.

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(Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

Re: Re: Yes, but

It is a shame our man doesn't have a window, but we'd rather he didn't lose his canopy and his head in short order. Trompe-l'œil? Hmmm...

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Re: Yes, but

Perhaps learn from the Mercury program where engineers saw astronauts simply as passengers but reacted to complaints and included a hatch with explosive bolts, a decent-sized window and manual controls? All lovingly rendered in trompe-l'œil, of course - http://images.jsc.nasa.gov/lores/S61-03698.jpg

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You're really taking it to another level here

It appears the ambitiousness of your projects rise exponentially. At this rate you'll be flying manned missions to Mars in two year's time.

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Re: You're really taking it to another level here

Blimey, up vote for optimism. After LOHAN the next step is to develop a craft capable of achieving escape velocity. Might the UN get a bit tetchy if El Reg develops a missile program? Or Apple?

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Stop

Re: You're really taking it to another level here

Escape velocity only applies to ballistic trajectories.

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Go

Re: You're really taking it to another level here

Escape velocity doesn't only apply to ballistic trajectories. For example, Luna 1 achieved escape velocity way back in 1959, and its multi-stage launch vehicle did not follow a ballistic trajectory.

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Who needs Skylon?

Scale this baby up a bit and Britain will have an independent orbital launch capability.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Who needs Skylon?

...in Spain

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Anonymous Coward

Why not?

Glue said Playmonaut to the underside of the fusilage?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why not?

That would be cruel! I should report you to the RPPS (Royal Playmonaut Protection Society, in case you didn't know)!

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Anonymous Coward

LOHAN is looking dead sexy! Speaking purely as an aviation geek, that is.

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Nice Arse

Reminds me of a Flying wing style bomber.

It's all looking very fine chaps, carry on.

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Something in that shape reminds me of Victor

This Victor

Great looking design for LOHAN

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Does it only have rudders?

Does it really only have rudders?

I know it already has two control surfaces more than Vulture 1 had and that's laudable, but just rudders seems like a bit of an issue if that's the case. Or does it have elevons as well (in which case rudders are a bit excessive...)

Has anyone built a foam mockup of this to check how it flies, where the CG should be etc.? It shouldn't be too difficult to do as an RC model and could easily be tested at high speeds with a ducted fan motor or even hobby rockets.

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Re: Does it only have rudders?

Judging from the mount, it looks like the canard will be functional providing pitch control.

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Re: Does it only have rudders?

You're right, well spotted. That should work well once it has enough air to bite into, and the canards do look big enough to work.

I'm looking forward to seeing the test flights...

What are the plans for that?

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(Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

Re: Re: Does it only have rudders?

Wait and see ;-)

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Facepalm

Re: Does it only have rudders?

"Has anyone built a foam mockup of this to check how it flies"

That's a good idea. Build a sort of, what do we call it, prototype, yeah, that's it, a prototype. Maybe we could use some of that newfangled nylon on one of those clever 3D printers often that are supposed to be good for "rapid, one off, prototyping". Great idea!

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(Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

Re: Re: Does it only have rudders?

Blimey - what a fantastic idea. We'll look into it immediately before we build the full-fat titanium version. While we're at it, we're going to print up a prototype commentard-slapping device, codename MODERATRIX. Backronym suggestions welcome.

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Re: Does it only have rudders?

Means Of Delivering Effortless Retaliation Against The Really IneXcusable

E could alternatively be for Excruciating, depending how sadistic the device.

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Boffin

Re: Does it only have rudders?

I design and fly model slope-soarers, and I wonder about the use of wingtip rudders on a high aspect-ratio wing like that.

The rudders will have a secondary effect of drag, and that will be acting at quite a distance from the CG. It might not be an issue at low deflections, but you might find that at high deflections the model drops the inside wing and goes into a spin. Although the rudders should keep biting the air during such a spin, it's never a good idea to put a lot of weight in the wingtips of a plane prone to spinning - it makes it hard to recover.

Still, if somone's tested the design, maybe it's fine....

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Re: Does it only have rudders?

....Oh, and I'd expect to find the craft VERY twitchy in yaw, as any sideways swing will present the side of the fin to the airflow and increase drag at the end of the wing again, tending to increase the swing...

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(Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

Re: Re: Does it only have rudders?

Let's wait and see how it flies, eh?

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Knocking up a model of it in Kerbal Space Program now

It looks like it should fly!

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Pint

Re: Knocking up a model of it in Kerbal Space Program now

Obligatory: http://xkcd.com/1244/

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Happy

I feel I should make a pointed comment.

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Black Helicopters

Wot no laser cannon mounting point?

The recent story of Russian cosmonauts removing the ISS "External Onboard Laser (Communications, hem-hem) System" got me to wondering...

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