back to article Hero Playmonaut lost at sea as SPEARS ditches in Channel

It's with heavy hearts that we report the loss of the Special Project Bureau's heroic playmonaut, after the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) balloon launch on Saturday ended in the English Channel off the coast of Sussex. Click here for a bigger version of the LOHAN graphic The flight was intended to test the …


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  1. Pete 2 Silver badge

    But did it fire?

    > test the Special Project Electronic Altitude Release System (SPEARS) control board at altitude - specifically to see if it would fire the igniter

    Was there any telemetry to say whether the firing took place - or will this need another test flight?

    1. bigphil9009

      Re: But did it fire?

      Agreed - it would be good to know if the mission goal was reached or not.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A Lego man would have made it back.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More importantly...

    Where do we sign the onlin Book of Condolence for our dear, departed hero (denominational leader of choice) rest his soul.

    1. James O'Brien

      He will be missed

      It is with heavy heart I write this. I will be hoisting a pint in honor of our fallen compatriot later this evening.

      *On a side note we don't have a backup pilot for LOHAN?

    2. Irony Deficient

      O Ludonauta, requiescas in pace!

      Lacrimosa dies illa,

      Qua resurget ex favilla

      Judicandus homunculus.

      Huic ergo parce, Deus.

      Pie Jesu Domine,

      Dona ei requiem.


      1. Stoneshop Silver badge

        Re: O Ludonauta, requiescas in pace!

        Scene: flagellating monks

        Pie Jesu Domine,


        Dona ei requiem.


  3. Charlie Clark Silver badge


    Our thoughts are with the family and friends of this brave and pioneering Playmonaut who has done so much in following the manifest destiny of Plamobil to conquer the sun and the stars, if not, unfortunately the sea.

    1. James Micallef Silver badge

      Re: RIP

      At least he made the most of his last shore leave!!

      Live fast, die young

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: RIP

        "Live fast, die young"

        Who's to say he died?

        Does Playmobil float?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: RIP

          Not in the bath

    2. hplasm Silver badge

      Re: RIP

      Not so fast!

      He's exploring the depths!

      Onwards and downwards- yoho!

  4. Pavelow

    Glad to see...

    ...the asembley team were eating the right biscuits

  5. Phil E Succour

    Perhaps next time...

    ...the playmobile pirate should ride the balloon as he'll be better qualified to deal with unscheduled interactions with the sea.

    <--- as is he

  6. AdamT

    Wow, it's dusty in here again? Really making my eyes water...

  7. Mage Silver badge

    Maybe too soon to suggest it?

    Lego should have a turn now?

    1. Elmer Phud Silver badge

      Re: Maybe too soon to suggest it?

      Oi, there's a pile of firewood and a stake in the middle for heretics like you!

      1. TeeCee Gold badge

        Re: Maybe too soon to suggest it?

        Oi! That's booked for those using unsmoked bacon in their butties. Get yer own.

        1. Scroticus Canis Silver badge

          Re: Maybe too soon to suggest it?

          Must agree TeeCee, not only unsmoked bacon but compounded by the sacrilege of using the word muffin in the same sentence as bacon buttie and no butter either! Where will it all end I ask?

  8. Winkypop Silver badge

    From injection mould to watery grave

    Alas, what price the advancement of science?


    Float in peace

  9. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    An epic saga indeed

    Just epic!

    I shall follow this continuing saga, forgetting not those who fell in the pursuit of glory.

    I do not doubt the playmonaut was taken (by Valkyrie) to a place in the great hall of Valhalla, the only fitting place for a hero of his stature. I shall raise a horn filled to the brim with my best mead this evening, or failing that a tot of finest Usge beatha!

  10. JayBizzle

    I feel a corporate manslaughter charge coming on.....

  11. Evil Auditor Silver badge

    "tethered to the structure with a safety line"

    That's why heroic Playmonaut drowned. You killed it!

    1. hplasm Silver badge

      Re: "tethered to the structure with a safety line"

      SPB must not combine with H&S...

  12. Blofeld's Cat


    Fear not, a new Playmonaut will rise, Stig-like, from the wreck...

    Presumably SPEARS 2 will have a drop the payload now button, and/or a flotation device, hopefully in the form of a couple of airbags.

    1. Phil E Succour

      Re: Phoenix...

      >>>hopefully in the form of a couple of airbags.

      You mean Bulgarian airbags??? Now that would make the mission video MUCH more interesting...

  13. Annihilator


    Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator

    When did the switch to hydrogen happen?

    God speed Playmonaut - I like to think you're not lost and are riding LOHAN hard across the channel towards Paris.

    1. daveake

      Re: Hydrogen?

      When I was asked to help.

      Helium is for softies.

      1. Annihilator

        Re: Hydrogen?

        "Helium is for softies."

        Indeed, such was the frequent point made in the forums/comments sections and disregarded every time. Glad it's changed, just surprised there wasn't a browbeaten article from Lester :-)

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

          Re: Re: Hydrogen?

          Contrary to what you lot might think, I don't discriminate against elements for no reason, although I'll admit I prefer the company of noble gases.

          1. Silverburn

            Re: Hydrogen?

            Don't forget the tree-hugging smugness you get from hydrogen - which is abundant, manufacturable from solar, and fun in a flammable way - compared to "once it's gone it's gone" helium.

            1. Marketing Hack Silver badge

              Re: Hydrogen?

              SPB is soft-peddling the diplomatically sensitive decision by a jealous NASA to not allow U.S. helium to be used by "the competition".

              Hoisting a glass in memory of Playmonaut, but he'll be immortalized on the wall of Pancho's Happy Bottom Riding Club...

          2. Evil Auditor Silver badge

            Re: Hydrogen?

            Noble gas is lazy gas. Boooring! ;-)

            But won't that be a serious dent in the proper boffins' appearance? (see icon)

  14. SW

    Wot no butter...?

    Are you men or mice, SPB eating BBs without butter!

    Nay, and again I say Nay to the dry butties...

    1. SuperTim

      Re: Wot no butter...?

      No. the fat from the bacon and a suitable amount of sauce would be all the lubrication your throat needs. Butter is for people who auto-spread any piece of bread without thinking. I like the muffin twist in this episode, as I have been bettering the bland McOffering for several years with suitable inclusion of a quality cheese, better sausagemeat/bacon and the delicious inclusion of a slice of crispy black pudding (SuperTimuffins). Maybe there is another breakfast competition in the offing, but in the mean time it may be wiser to let the beast sleep.

      1. Scroticus Canis Silver badge

        Re: Wot no butter...?

        Well sir, apart from the neglect of butter and the inclusion of muffin in favor of bread (pita works but need egg as well) you are getting on the right track. I trust you don't actually buy a McMuffin and put other stuff in, more illegal than Muffin the Mule in my book.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wot no butter...?

        No. the fat from the bacon and a suitable amount of sauce would be all the lubrication your throat needs. Butter is for people who auto-spread any piece of bread without thinking.

        I think you'll find butter is for people who prefer not to eat tomato flavoured sucrose-fructose syrup. ;-)

  15. fawlty


    Fitting that a boatload of Seamen was used in the recovery process.

    I'll get my coat.

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: fitting

      wrong icon, methinks...

  16. Arachnoid

    Maybe the addition of a self inflating life vest and beacon to the next legonaught to take a leap of faith with your team may at least increase their chance of survival in similar water situations.

    1. graeme leggett

      equipment revision list for Playmonaut No. 2

      Water immersion triggered safety line separation

      positive buoyancy device (piece of polystyrene foam)

      waterproof luggage label "if found please call........."

      of course there's a chance that a battered and faded Playmonaut No1 will turn up on a coast some day and someone will wonder where he came from (imagines plastic amnesiac in Dutch boy's toybox)

      I do know of an expert in tidal flows around the UK....hmmm might know where the little fellow could be found.

  17. ukgnome Silver badge

    A poem by Words of Art 2008

    Floating endlessly on the waves

    The shore no longer beckons

    Surrounded by the billows and gales

    A force with which he reckons

    Longing and anguish fills his heart

    Faces fill his mind

    As the sun and salt beat down and sting

    He holds tight and waits for a sign

    Those he left are lifting prayers

    To the unseen One above

    He prays himself as he holds on

    And tries to feel their love

    Never has loneliness held such meaning

    Nor sorrow held such weight

    What he would give out on this sea

    To know his ending fate

    Should he give in to sleep or fight it back

    Cry for help or mercy

    Relive his memories or stay alert

    Oh would that help would hurry!

    The day is done, the sun rides low

    O'er all the salty waves

    Tomorrow is another day to fight

    And pray that he'll be saved.

    Goodbye playmonaut - your sacrifice will not go unnoticed.

  18. Pete4000uk

    Its sad that the payload and playmonaut were lost at sea, But it was fun tracking the baloon and watching the car chase!

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    High Flight

    Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth

    And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;

    Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth

    of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things

    You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung

    High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,

    I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung

    My eager craft through footless halls of air....

    Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue

    I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace.

    Where never lark, or even eagle flew —

    And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod

    The high untrespassed sanctity of space,

    - Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: High Flight

      From Landscape With The Fall Of Icarus by William Carlos Williams


      off the coast

      there was

      a splash quite unnoticed

      this was

      Icarus drowning

    2. Colin Miller

      Re: High Flight

      As the Sun breaks above the ground

      A playmonaut stands on the hill

      As the ground warms to the first rays of light

      A birdsong shatters the still

      His eyes are ablaze

      See the madman in his gaze

      Fly, on your way, like an eagle

      Fly as high as the Sun

      On your way, like an eagle

      Fly, touch the Sun

      Iron Maiden - Flight of Icarus

  20. Penguin
    Thumb Up


    "Harmless Scientific Experiment" ? Say that to the poor plastic person that you just deep sixed.

    That is some pretty impressive distance covered, how much flight time did you actually achieve? When I read the headline my first instinct was "Why would anyone do this experiment so close to the sea." When I actually saw the track I ate my own words. No one would think of Newbury as "Costal".

    1. El Richard Thomas

      Re: I always assumed that...

      'No one would think of Newbury as "Costal"'

      I'm surprised you haven't taken a ribbing for that one.

  21. Dave Pickles

    Still a chance?

    It was mentioned on the IRC channel that there was a dredger in the area of the splashdown, which seemed to make a detour from its previous route to investigate. Is there any hope that the Plucky Playmonaut was plucked to safety?

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

      Re: Still a chance?

      We're investigating a report that a survey vessel was very close to the splashdown.


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