back to article El Reg to launch space paper plane

It's official: We here at the Vulture Central Science Bureau have had enough of writing about space shuttles, orbiting Japanese laboratories and Chinese taikonauts, when the best the UK's space programme can offer is to lose touch with a 300g wedge of Somerset farmhouse cheddar somewhere over the south of England. Accordingly …


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  1. finnbarr

    "Dick Dastardly"

    He was, after all, the leader of the Vulture Squadron.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    What else could it be named?


  3. Ben Mathews


    Would surely have to be 'Vulture'?

  4. Christopher P. Martin

    How about...

    ..."Vulture Venturer"?

  5. Grease Monkey


    It isn't a paper plane if there's balsa in it.

    If you're going to use balsa you may as well build one of those KeilKraft kits we used to build as kids. Do they still make those?

  6. david 63

    contact Phil Mitchell here...

    or 'e'll give yer a right slap you slag...

  7. Evil_Medic


    Two words: Queen Bee

  8. jonathan keith
    Paris Hilton


    "The Vulture"

    Otherwise "Paris", in honour of our favourite globetrotting heroine.

  9. Steve Swann

    A suggested name... or two...

    * Ms Bee

    * FSM

    * Paris

    * MyCoat

    * Balsa Overlord

  10. Ben Best

    Name Thoughts

    Surely "The Vulture"

    But maybe the penguin.


  11. Les Matthew

    So, is El Reg going to be

    a big cheese in the space exploration business?

  12. Wokstation
    Thumb Up

    Name: Big Mod 1

    (After the Moderatrix, of course).

    Also I suggest you contact that cheese company and ask them for a thin sliver of their finest cheddar to use as nose-ballast.

    Keep it made of paper, waterproofed naturally, so that you can enter it into the Guinness Book of Records.

  13. Mike Street

    Name has to be

    Vulture 1

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Get Branson to sponsor it...

    ... and call it the Virgin Vulture.

  15. Crossbow

    A name....

    How can it be called anything other than the Vulture?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It should be ...

    HP paper strapped to a pallet.

  17. CD001

    @Christopher P. Martin

    Oooooh I like "Vulture Venturer"!

    How about equipping it with a web-cam and G3 phone for uplink (or whatever) so we can watch the whole 30 second disaster... I mean, exciting endeavour live online here?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think

    The Twatdangle I.

  19. David Webb

    Let's see

    A name, hrm, the Bulgarian Funbag express? Though that would look bad for future generations of history students...

    I am reliably informed that the Spanish for Vulture is Buitre, so, El Buitre? Cept then we have the problem of pronunciation, darn foreign words! It really is hard to think of a name!

    The BAFH? Bastard Airplane From Hell?

    The Labour Party Express - watch that plane drop as far as Browns popularity!

    As for crafting it, it really is a giant boys toy (and girls toy, at least the sort of girls toy that they can pull out and use in public without an article on El Reg), and luckily I'd guess the main demographic of El Reg is.... male.

  20. Samuel Williams
    Thumb Up

    Being a vulture...

    ...shouldn't it circle rather than glide long distances? Or is that buzzards?

  21. Pete Foster

    Vulture is too obvious!

    I suggest "Aegypius".

  22. Hermes (nine inch) Conran
    Paris Hilton


    Nothing goes down better

  23. Dale 3

    "Paper Plane One"

    Taking inspiration from Scaled Composites, that would be the low altitude test one. But don't worry, I have the full-size flier covered: "Paper Plane Two"! Awesome.

  24. Lionel Baden

    @grease monkey

    I fully agree with the fact that balsa would redifine it as a paper aircraft

    But you could create struts by folding the paper tightly and wetting it then letting it dry.

    I dislike the idea of balso otherwise its just a lightweight glider.

    But then again is it likley that you can load equipment onto a paper plane

    hmm what about the printable batteries i saw on here a week or so ago.

    that would be good for powering a gps unit.

    Strip down a old phone and nab the optics for photographing the flight (would prolly be easiest and safer to store locally rather than transmit the data)

    You could also use arials for struts (its cheating to a degree but you could get away with it)

    Name: Bee line

  25. alain williams Silver badge

    +1 to "Vulture Venturer"

    and your logo on each wing!

  26. Anonymous Coward

    old phone

    For gps, camera etc put a Nokia N95 or similar in the plane. it can track and phot to it's hearts content and when in range transfer the data via 3G. And if it's picked up by ET he can phone home. Make sure the sim has international roaming enabled incase it works

  27. Ferenc

    High Altitude Glider

    Art Vanden Berg had a shot at this. Have look over here:

    or here:

    Fascinating stuff.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The Twatdangle I."


  29. cynic 2


    Can we have a Playmobil crew?

  30. This post has been deleted by its author

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    Name? Either:

    Paris (she's good at going down)


    Vulture Bee


    Heart of Gold (we need more Douglas Adams references)


    "Mechanism to release aircraft from balloon at preset altitude (relying on balloon burst not a good idea). "

    You'll also want to monitor altitude in case of premature descent - you want to release from the balloon if you start going down before the preset altitude.

  32. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Let's give a nod to history?

    "Sir George Cayley"

    Which not only commemorates (<-- hell, just how many 'm's in that damn word?) the early British pioneer of flight, but might also provide some protection in the case of running into any passing low-earth-orbit dragons. I mean, you never know...

  33. Tim Bergel
    Thumb Up


    "Can we have a Playmobil crew?" Yeah!

  34. jeffrey 1


    I remeber reading ages ago about a japanese science experiment using a special sort of paper, that would release paper planes from space, and have it re-enter earths atmosphere (with all the crazy heat and forces that entails) to land on the ground, still I guess el reg's effort will be impressive still , even if it is from 1/3 rd of the height.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Black Vulture

    After "Black Prince" and "Black Knight".

    Or @ Pete Foster: Aegypius monachus

  36. Alan Thomson


    ...or even Sarcogyps, the Red-headed Vulture?

  37. Harvey Trowell

    A backronym?

    Paper Aeroplane Released Into Space

  38. Hugh Jorgen
    Paris Hilton

    For the history books......

    Problem with history books is they were always defaced when I were a lad. So, while El Reg is forging ahead with the revival of the UK's dreams of space flight, why not beat the future generation to it? Why not call it:

    your mom (or yo momma) 'cos nothing goes down longer'

    or 'pWnD'

    or 'Bungles Finger'

    and while we're at it, try to use some paper from a tacky skin mag and have a snapper showing on the wing somehwere, saves time for the kids drawing one on if a photo ever makes it into the curriculum....

    Paris...... any why not?

  39. Jonathan 17

    it can only be...

    Either yggdrasil, the world tree.

    Or The Enterprise, to boldly go where no tree has gone before.

    Or Paris, she REALLY gets around.

  40. RainForestGuppy

    The Vulture has already been done.

    If you remember the "cult" seventies fantasy show "Salvage 1", their rocket was called the vulture.

    As there are actually 2 craft, the launcher and the payload. I think there should be 2 names.

    How about

    BOFH 1


    PFY Voyager

  41. Paul E

    Do you think Mr Branson would mind...

    If you called it Vulture Galactic Paper Plane 1

  42. pica
    Paris Hilton

    Not Paris

    We don't want it to go down THAT fast.

  43. da3andrew

    Balsa != Paper

    The use of balsa wood won't make it a paper aeroplane any more! A cleverly-designed cardboard frame should be able to provide sufficient strength.

    It could be tough to make sure the aircraft continues to fly (rather than just falling out of the sky) all the way down, particulary with air currents. Making it heavier will help (more momentum therefore less affected by changes in the air around it), but then of course it'll need to be bigger overall to produce the extra lift. Or how about adding some control surfaces and an inertial measurement unit linked up to an autopilot?

    On-board photo/video is a must!!!

    I for one will happily volunteer my time to this worthwhile endeavour!

  44. Mycho Silver badge

    Grave Disappointment

    Just think of the headlines you could get with a name like that.

  45. Stjohn Roe

    A good op for SQL injection

    I like "Vulture '; truncate table story;" or something in the same vein.

  46. Murray Pearson 1

    Plane-ly should be....

    Since "high-altitude glider" abbreviates to HAG, why not the Vulture HAG?

    I don't think we should be so pedantic about the fine points of wood-vs-paper; that is, unless the electronics you're inserting into it are ALSO paper.....? Surely the plastic, metal and glass are a bigger deviation from the ideal than a few balsa and/or basswood spars? Finally, to keep the weight to a minimum, experiment with muscle wires rather than electromechanical servos.

    Basswood/balsa composite, by the way, would be a far better choice than balsa alone. Using built-up members with balsa in tension and basswood in compression, and your strength-to-weight ratio should double at least. Use cyanoacralyte superglue for lightweight joins, and saturation with a thinned white or carpenter's glue where stresses are concentrated.

    In keeping with the 'paper airplane' theme, the skin of the plane could easily be doped tissue-paper.

  47. Timfy
    Jobs Halo


    that is all...

  48. Anonymous Coward

    tracking device

    am I being thick here, or does GSM / 3g coverage not extend to a sufficient altitude for such a device to be be used for real time data relay to VultureCentral? surely it will have to be satellite / rf data relay?

    or maybe we should just link up some x25 cables and have a 'fly by wire' system?

  49. werrington
    Jobs Horns

    Apple incorporated


    or iFAPPISAIAMFWBDTA for short.

  50. Rich (the other one)

    How about ...

    ... Calling the balloon 'WHITE LIGHTNING 2', and the aeroplane 'SPACEPLANK 2'?

    You've got to name both of them ... the balloon's doing most of the leg work!

    Oh and don't forget to start a spin-off company called ...


    .. and you'll need some help converting the local bus shelter into your dedicated Space Port too :-)


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