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

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS
Your brother's gonna die, kid, unless we can give him your, well ...
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
Simon's says quantum computing will work
Boffins blast algorithm with half a dozen qubits
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
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.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
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.
The Heartbleed Bug: how to protect your business with Symantec
What happens when the next Heartbleed (or worse) comes along, and what can you do to weather another chapter in an all-too-familiar string of debilitating attacks?