back to article LOHAN's handsome young autopilot springs into life

It's been a couple of weeks since the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team took delivery of a brand-spanking new 3D Robotics Pixhawk autopilot for the Vulture 2 spaceplane, and we've now whipped out our original ArduPilot Mega (APM) 2.6 and hooked up the new kit for a quick test. Here's the Pixhawk up and running …


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  1. frank ly

    Just wondering ...

    For the final assembly, will you be making proper wiring looms with lacing cord and cable trays bolted to the inside of the fuselage? It would look really good if you did.

  2. Vortex

    Paint Job

    C'mon Lester, don't tease us with mere glimpses of the new paint job. Are you embarrassed about a scratch or something?

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

      Re: Paint Job

      Paintjob's ongoing. Further tease:

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Paint Job

        Nice. and 50 images later I come across the wire-frame models and wonder what the helix is for....and many clicks later, lo-and-behold, an image of the inside of the top that show that they're strength members...absolutely slick!

  3. Peter Simpson 1

    Pitot heater?

    Don't want to end up like Air France, do we, now?

    // a bit piggish with the limited battery power, though

  4. Cliff

    You need a playmobil dog too.

    Autopilots etc - old aviation gag...

    Can be flown by a pilot and a dog. The dog's job is to stop anyone touching the controls, the pilot's job is to feed the dog.

    You need a playmobil dog.

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

      Re: You need a playmobil dog too.

      Funnily enough, we have a few playmomutts...

  5. Kubla Cant Silver badge


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

      Yes, the Pixhawk plays "music" to let you know all is well. Haven't heard its dulcite warning tones yet. Just as well, cos it's bloody loud.

  6. nagyeger

    C of G

    I hope that no one is forgetting what the careful placement of bits does to the centre of gravity / mass... it could be embarrassing if it wanders too far. from spec

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

      Re: C of G

      All taken into consideration.

  7. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Ye Gods!

    It's got fins, a snout and eyes! It's an air-shark

    1. Peter Simpson 1

      Re: Ye Gods!

      if it's an air-shark, it will need a frickin' laser attached to it, no?

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

        Re: Re: Ye Gods!

        Very tempting.

      2. Faye B

        Re: Ye Gods!

        I think that's what the metal tube pointing out the front is for. (It makes more sense than a pitot tube).

  8. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    Silly question but wouldn't a flush mounted super-blindo LED and a flush finish el-crappo-time safety switch be better aerodynamically than standard el-naffo panel fittings?

  9. Mark 85 Silver badge

    The only thing I can think of is...

    well done!!! It all looks very fit and proper and appears to rival what the "big boy" are doing. 40 years ago, I played with the Estes rockets... who would have thought it could come to this?

  10. Peter Simpson 1

    Don't forget

    Flotation (just in case) to gurantee positive bouyancy, and a very waterproof and highly visible name and address label (in case it washes up on some foreign shore)!

    1. cosymart

      Re: Don't forget

      Speaking of foreign shores... What you also need then is an automatic flag slider (Think 007 number plates on the Aston Martin DB5). This could be linked to the GPS and programmed to change when crossing the border. We don't want our hero Playmonaut to be banged up for illegal entry.

  11. John Jennings


    This is one of the most impressive projects on the 'net I have ever seen. With Paris, and now this. Great work one and all on this.

    Even if it all ends in a mighty fireball or a Pfft......

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