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back to article Vulture 2 strapped to speeding van before delicate brain surgery

On Sunday, Pixhawk autopilot brain surgeon Linus Penzlien touches down in Spain ahead of some serious Vulture 2 spaceplane wrangling. Working with APM:Plane lead developer Andrew Tridgell, Linus will be hewing custom Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) mission parameters from the living code. These include an "ascend …

The vinyl stayed on, I don't care if the wings fall off and the rocket motor explodes so long as the vinyl stays stuck.

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

The vinyl's fine. I'm not sure it'll survive the rocket motor exploding though.

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Come now, vinyl is the modern, foreign, name for it. Let's use the traditional name, Sticky-Backed Plastic.

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In the spirit of everything LOHAN your tree avoidance system surely deserves an acronym?

I would like to propose:

Automated Realtime Magnetic Arboreal Detection and Impact Limitation with Landing Obstacles

ARMADILLO

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

That's pretty good. Award yourself a pint.

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It's completely PANTS

Pixhawk Avoidance of Nearby Tree System

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If ARMADILLO proves effective El Reg SPB could fund future ventures by licensing the technology to golfball manufacturers.

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Re: It's completely PANTS

quote: "Pixhawk Avoidance of Nearby Tree System"

This is LOHAN, so I'd suggest

Navigationally Obligatory: Pixhawk Avoidance of Nearby Tree System

NO:PANTS

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Roof rack

On Roof Gurney for At Speed Measurement

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The whole project is brilliantly bananas...

I'm continually impressed with the technology being baked into this thing and the level of engineering (Anticipate, Design, Build, Test, Repeat again and again ) you guys are doing,

Out of curiosity will you ever publish a rough cost of the project.. excluding the hundreds of person hours donated to the project.

Ad Astra.......

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Thanks for your kind words. I'm sure we'll add up all the figures we have written on the back of beers mats one day. However, the "sweat equity" is by far the biggest part, and LOHAN simply wouldn't have happened without our magnificent volunteers.

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I think an estimate of total pints drunk is also in order.

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I agree with all this. This is science and not chidren playing

Go on guys!

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

I'll see if the mainframe's available this afternoon to crunch the enormous numbers involved.

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> This is science and not chidren playing

I get the feeling this is science AND children playing! (and nothing wrong with that)

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Re: > This is science and not chidren playing

Yes, you are right: children playing with high tecnology

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Re: > This is science and not chidren playing

And explosives!

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Do you have a tentative lauch date?

I need to know when I'll have to put the overtime in for covering the cost of beer.

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Re: Do you have a tentative lauch date?

I was wondering the same thing, especially as it looks like it's starting to all come together like a coming together thing...

Brilliant project to follow so far, bringing good old garden sheddery into the 21st century :)

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Re: Do you have a tentative lauch date?

As soon as we know, you'll know. Get the beers on chill...

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As always, good work

And as always I feel like voicing a concern ;)

Testing on top of the van is certainly useful, but if the goal is control algorithm tuning the airframe will have to be mounted in such a way that local flow conditions approach those of free flight. The current rig is too close to the roof and too bulky to allow free flow over the control surfaces. Ideal would be a single spike mounted into the motor mount from the rear. With the upright part of the support located about a quarter span behind the rear of the plane.

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Re: As always, good work

I agree.

And to misquote you "a single spike mounted into the rear", you are a bit of a pervert. (Or is that me?)

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Re: As always, good work

Yes, the current setup isn't near optimal given the awkward airflow. I expect calibrating the airspeed indicator will give a low reading given the slipstream around the van will be faster than the actual speed of the van so it should be spaced off at least far enough to get reasonably clean air. Being in clean air will also allow for some rather interesting data collection as working a few load cells into the mounting hardware will give an idea of what you've got for lift and control forces. In a pinch you can borrow some load cells from a cheap digital scale.

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Re: As always, good work

"I agree.

And to misquote you "a single spike mounted into the rear", you are a bit of a pervert. (Or is that me?)"

You don't know the half of it *suggestive eyebrow waggle*

In all seriousness, this might be of interest to the LOHAN team: http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/k-12/airplane/tunbalmnt.html

I realise the LOHAN testing is not really for the purposes of finding the aerdynamic forces on the airframe, but this kind of mounting still allows for uninhibited flow around the model.

More clearance from the roof of the car will be needed in any case.

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if you are going to roof-rack it

then go the rest of the way and put it in a big honking gimbal. That way you can also do a bit of out-of-tunnel wind testing of your control deflections, etc.

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Flight tested?

Has it even been near a simulator to check that it actually can fly as built?

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Homing method?

I haven't kept up for a while. Is there a backup system to listen for a homing signal, and steer toward it? That would help the thing bring itself closer to the retrieving team and might help avoid forests and such. Or is the GPS going to be used for navigation as well as monitoring?

Yes, it's been months. :P

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thats a tougher test than needed

because your airflow is a lot more turbulent going over the hood and windshield than your actual flight envelope.

If V2 handles that dirty air at speed without issues, the actual flight will be a breeze..natch

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I'm interested in.....

How you're going to get the van up to 30,000 metres. A long take off, perhaps and one of those jump jet ramps?

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Re: I'm interested in.....

The only launch vehicle possible is a knackered old White ASTRA Van (Clues in the name.)

As this is the only vehicle guarenteed to hit warp speed in lane 3 of a M'Way whilst flashing the BMW in front to get outta the frigging way.... Also they usually have some sort of ladder\truss affair loosely attached to the roof in readiness.

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