Feeds

Giant elastic-powered aircraft fails to take off

Disappointment for UK aviation pioneer

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

A UK artist has dismally, albeit heroically, failed to get off the ground in a 20ft aircraft powered by a giant rubber band, the Daily Telegraph reports.

Mark Clews prepares for non-take-off. Photo: University of WestminsterMark Clews attempt to reach 3,000ft in the oversized kids' toy ended with the aircraft travelling just six feet backwards at a "rain swept" Dunsfold Park airfield in Surrey.

Clews' pioneering aviation project was inspired by his love of balsa-wood model aircraft, the Telegraph explains. He enthused: "Those model planes were brilliant, some of them used to fly 160ft for me, I used to dream of being in them.

"I worked out that if I scaled-up the whole plane, it could theoretically get to 2,700ft."

The 24-year-old artist spent six months constructing his aircraft. The design was based on a balsa-wood model he found on eBay, duly modified after a trip to the RAF's Shuttleworth Collection in Bedfordshire, where he investigated the Wright brothers' construction technique.

The power plant consisted of 200 feet of bungee cord, powering a red propeller obtained in the Midlands for £100, as the Telegraph notes.

Sadly, however, Clews' efforts were in vain. Undaunted, the wannabe aviator said: "It was spectacular, everything I hoped it would be, apart from actually flying."

He added: "We are taking a step in the right direction just by moving. I mean, technically it is a step in the wrong direction I suppose, but at least it's a step."

The aircraft will now retire to an exhibition at Clews' former alma mater - the University of Westminster. Gallery curator Michael Maziere explained the aircraft's symbolic meaning thus: "These works reveal the importance of failure as an essential process of development. [Such] futile gestures take the raw desires of our childhood fantasies to their logical conclusion."

Whether the exhibition will also feature an Airbus A380 (by our reckoning currently the world's leading example of "the importance of failure as an essential process of development"), is not noted. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
Relive the death of Earth over and over again in Extinction Game
Apocalypse now, and tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that ...
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.