Feeds

Ever wanted to be a Playmonaut? El Reg's Vulture 2 spaceplane sim reveals what it's like

Our Tennessee X-Plane ace sets up virtua-ballocket shot

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Last month, we put out call for an X-Plane Plane-Maker bod to enter into a simulating relationship with our Vulture 2 spaceplane team.

Straight out of the blocks was Billy Bargagliotti of Memphis, Tennessee, who enthusiastically emailed he'd be delighted to get involved with the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) mission. As a retired pilot - "commercial, instrument, single engine land, single engine sea and multiengine land licences" - with a rack of X-Plane projects under his belt, Billy appeared to have the Right Stuff for the job, and so it turned out.

We provided Billy with aircraft plans, weight, etc, plus details of our planned rocket motor reload, and let him get on with it. Here's the progress to date, with the Vulture 2 mounted to a provisional "launch rod" (see details on our fantastical flying truss launch structure here)...

The Vulture 2 as seen in X-Plane

...and here's the view from cockpit, as it will be seen in real life by our dauntless Playmonaut as he rides the Vulture 2 up through balloon ascent and then fiery rocket boost before the desperate flight down from the very edge of space:

The view from the Vulture 2 cockpit during ascent

The way it works is this: You ramp up the balloon lift using the lever on the right, rise majestically to altitude, cut the balloon lift and press the rocket motor fire button (directly to the left of the lever), having of course first flipped up the safety cover.

While the ascent view appears to have the aircraft horizontal, it's actually a vertical lift-off. The launch rod is simulated as a drop tank, which detaches on ignition.

What happens next is highly entertaining, and includes redout for the benefit of our plucky Playmonaut, just so he's got some idea of what awaits him:

Redout in the cockpit view as the Vulture pulls out of a dive

By the time you've recovered from the post-thrust rollercoaster ride, and found yourself with your boots facing heavenwards...

Virtually inverted aircraft shortly after rocket ignition

...you've got two options: recover the aircraft yourself or let the autopilot (FLIGHT DIR) do the work. In this case, with it switched to "ON" it provides guidance in the head-up display (HUD):

The cockpit view as the aircraft is back under control

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
Human spacecraft dodge COMET CHUNKS pelting off Mars
Odyssey orbiter yet to report, though - comet's trailing trash poses new threat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.