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Lester Haines

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Exclusive SPB t-shirt flies into Kickstarter

Our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) Kickstarter tin-rattling is, er, rattling along nicely, and we offer sincere thanks to those who've already chosen to back our audacious spaceplane ballocket launch in New Mexico. Our quality merchandising - which includes stickers, mugs and t-shirts - has been flying out of the …
Lester Haines, 29 Aug 2014

LOHAN wrapped in vinyl as Kickstarter campaign hits £11k

Our Kickstarter bid to raise £30,000 for the New Mexico launch of our Vulture 2 spaceplane hit £11,734 this morning, shortly after we took delivery of some sample Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) vinyl stickers. And very classy they look too. Here are a few suggestions as to how those pledging a tenner to the cause …
Lester Haines, 28 Aug 2014

LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio

Our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) Vulture 2 spaceplane has taken a massive leap in transmitting power with the installation of a mighty 900MHz ultra long range radio module - the RFD 900u Radio Modem by Oz's RF Design. the RFD 900 rig The diminutive module plugs straight into the Pixhawk autopilot, replacing the …
Lester Haines, 28 Aug 2014

LOHAN Kickstarter push breaks ELEVEN THOUSAND POUNDS

Our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) Kickstarter campaign has reached a healthy £11,000, as we build momentum towards the launch of the Vulture 2 spaceplane at Spaceport America, New Mexico. Thanks to all the backers who've so far snapped up our juicy rewards. If you haven't already shown your support, proceed …
Lester Haines, 27 Aug 2014

Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000

Our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) Kickstarter campaign got off to a flying start over the weekend, attracting 160 backers who pledged a total of £6,000 toward the New Mexico launch of the Vulture 2 spaceplane. So inspiring was this first flush of support that our plucky Playmonaut and apprentice Special Projects …
Lester Haines, 26 Aug 2014
The LOHAN team poses with the Vulture 2

LOHAN Kickstarter bid IS GO: Back our Vulture 2 spaceplane launch

We're excited to announce that the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) Kickstarter campaign, which will fund the relocation of our audacious ballocket mission launch to Spaceport America, is now live. Following the reveal of our substantial mugs earlier today, we've given in to reader browbeating and have added an …
Lester Haines, 22 Aug 2014

Brit balloon bod Bodnar overflies North Pole

Hats must be tipped today in tribute to Brit balloon bod Leo Bodnar, whose ultralight B-64 payload is about to complete its second circumnavigation of the planet. The 11g B-64 rig – comprising radio transmitter, LiPo battery and a couple of solar panels slung under a transparent film envelope (pics here) – launched on 12 July …
Lester Haines, 22 Aug 2014

LOHAN gets laughing gear round promotional mug

As we reported yesterday, the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team has scrapped plans to launch the Vulture 2 spaceplane above Europe and is instead taking its audacious ballocket mission to Spaceport America in New Mexico. To fund the basic extra costs of the relocation, we'll be rattling the tin down at Kickstarter …
Lester Haines, 22 Aug 2014
Our LOHAN mission patch design

LOHAN packs bags for SPACEPORT AMERICA!

The traditional portentous drumroll and fanfare of trumpets has added timpani and a throbbing bass synth crescendo today as we announce that the planned launch of our our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) mission has been relocated to New Mexico's Spaceport America. This shock news comes at the end of an epic struggle …
Lester Haines, 21 Aug 2014
Our playmonaut tries out a jetpack, watched by a circling vulture

Vulture 2 takes a battering in 100km/h test run

Watch Video The Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team is still crunching numbers from last Friday's test run of the Vulture 2 spaceplane, which came at the end of an intensive week of brain surgery on the aircraft's Pixhawk autopilot. Hats off to Linus Penzlien and Andrew Tridgell for crafting and installing the …
Lester Haines, 19 Aug 2014

Vulture 2 spaceplane autopilot brain surgery a total success

We're pleased to report that following four days of intense graft, including some hair-pulling over our Vulture 2 spaceplane's cantankerous Raspberry Pi rig, we've finally got some custom Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) mission parameters loaded into our rocket ship's Pixhawk autopilot. Linus Penzlien flew into Spain …
Lester Haines, 15 Aug 2014

Vulture 2 spaceplane brain surgery begins with remote incision

The programming of our Vulture 2 spaceplane's autopilot was going pedal to the metal yesterday as we finally resolved a cantankerous Raspberry Pi issue and got down to some proper Pixhawk wrangling. Linus Penzlien is in Spain to work with APM:Plane lead developer Andrew "Tridge" Tridgell on implementing some custom Low Orbit …
Lester Haines, 13 Aug 2014
The Pi in the Sky board mounted atop the Pi in the Vulture 2

Pi palaver perplexes LOHAN Pixhawk pair

The planned brain surgery on our Vulture 2 spaceplane's Pixhawk autopilot got off to a shaky start yesterday as the aircraft's onboard Raspberry Pi decided it didn't much fancy booting up. Autopilot wrangler Linus Penzlien touched down in Spain on Sunday ahead of an intensive week of graft during which he'll be working with APM: …
Lester Haines, 12 Aug 2014

LOHAN acquires aircraft arboreal avoidance algorithm acronyms

We invite readers to raise a glass or two today to autopilot wrangler Linus Penzlien, who touched down in Spain yesterday afternoon ahead of an intensive week of Vulture 2 spaceplane Pixhawk custom parameter programming and testing. And here is the man himself meeting local lass Ruperta this morning ahead of an intensive …
Lester Haines, 11 Aug 2014

Fanfare of trumpets as LOHAN reveals mission patch

Cue the traditional portentous drumroll and fanfare of trumpets as we today reveal the final design for our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) mission patch. And here without further ado is the motif that will shortly be adorning flight suits and lab coats worldwide: Our LOHAN mission patch design Readers are …
Lester Haines, 08 Aug 2014

Check your Clungene, Irish women warned

Ireland's Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) has advised any woman who's trying to get pregnant to check her Clungene, if indeed she's using the Chinese pregnancy test kit to confirm she's up the duff. In some cases, the product has been providing false positives, so just when you think your Clungene is telling you …
Lester Haines, 07 Aug 2014

Vulture 2 strapped to speeding van before delicate brain surgery

On Sunday, Pixhawk autopilot brain surgeon Linus Penzlien touches down in Spain ahead of some serious Vulture 2 spaceplane wrangling. Working with APM:Plane lead developer Andrew Tridgell, Linus will be hewing custom Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) mission parameters from the living code. These include an "ascend …
Lester Haines, 07 Aug 2014

Kickstarter hopefuls promise high-res aerial maps for the masses

San Diego-based Drones Made Easy is nudging the Kickstarter target of $30,000 it needs to bring "mapping to the masses" with an site allowing people to "upload raw aerial imagery for processing into high quality stitched aerial imagery". The idea is to take the grunt work out of creating your own stitched imagery "at up to 20 …
Lester Haines, 05 Aug 2014

Plane grounded so cops can cuff semi-legless passenger

A Thomson flight from Tunisia to Edinburgh was diverted to Gatwick airport on Wednesday night after a female passenger allegedly threatened cabin crew with a false leg. As cops escorted her from the aircraft, other passengers bade her farewell with a rendition of The Hokey Cokey, STV reports. A Sussex Police spokesman confirmed …
Lester Haines, 01 Aug 2014
The path of the balloon yesterday as it returned to UK airspace

Brit balloon bod Bodnar circumnavigates planet

Brit balloon bod Leo Bodnar has pulled off a bit of a blinder by successfully flying an ultralight radio payload right round the planet. Launched on 12 July from near Silverstone, Northamptonshire, B-64 yesterday returned to Blighty, and was this morning still going strong over Sweden. The path of the balloon yesterday as it …
Lester Haines, 01 Aug 2014
The path of B-64 shown on a world map

Brit amateur payload set to complete full circle around PLANET EARTH

It's a tip of the hat today to Brit High Altitude Ballooning (HAB) bod Leo Bodnar, whose B-64 payload is poised to complete an epic 25,000km circumnavigation of the globe. B-64 - comprising a 12g solar-powered radio tracker rig - lifted off on 12 July from near Silverstone, Northamptonshire. Its most recent position showed it …
Lester Haines, 30 Jul 2014

LOHAN's stirring motto: Ad Astra Tabernamque

It's official: The stirring motto for our audacious Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) ballocket mission is Ad Astra Tabernamque. The public vote came down firmly in favour of us heading both to the stars and the pub, and we're not going to argue with that. Per Cervisiam Ad Astra ("Through Beer To The Stars") and …
Lester Haines, 28 Jul 2014
A proposed LOHAN mission patch

Vote now for LOHAN's stirring mission patch motto

It's been a blast, but after some serious linguistic tomfoolery, the time has come to decide on a stirring motto to adorn our proposed Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) mission patch. A proposed LOHAN mission patch Thanks to everyone who contributed, and you can see how our beloved readers gave Latin a right shoeing …
Lester Haines, 25 Jul 2014
A proposed LOHAN mission patch

Reg Latin scholars scrap over LOHAN's stirring motto

It's fair to say that the quest for a stirring motto for our proposed Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) mission patch is proving to be the most fun we've had in a long while. A proposed LOHAN mission patch So great was the response to our call for suggestions that we're buried under a magnus congestus of Latin, a …
Lester Haines, 23 Jul 2014

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

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) …
Lester Haines, 23 Jul 2014

Kickstarter tin-rattlers offer reboot of '80s Integrated Space Plan megagraphic

Those readers with a large blank wall space and a penchant for enormous flow charts outlining mankind's future beyond the surly bonds of Earth should nip down to Kickstarter where for a mere $25 you can secure yourself an updated Integrated Space Plan (ISP). The original ISP was an impressive piece of work made back in the …
Lester Haines, 22 Jul 2014

Plucky Rockall podule man back on (proper) dry land

Brit adventurer Nick Hancock left the North Atlantic islet of Rockall on Saturday, following a marathon 43 days atop the granite outcrop which saw him claim both the solo and group occupation records. A dramatic photo tweeted by Atlantic Marine Services shows the seaborne recovery operation in progress. Atlantic Marine …
Lester Haines, 22 Jul 2014
A proposed LOHAN mission patch

That stirring LOHAN motto: Anyone know a native Latin speaker?

We asked for it, and we got: in spades. In response to our call for a stirring motto for the proposed Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) embroidered mission patch, we were buried under suggestions from all corners of Regosphere diaspora. A proposed LOHAN mission patch Indeed, so great was the response that it's …
Lester Haines, 18 Jul 2014

Brit Rockall adventurer poised to quit islet

Plucky Brit adventurer Nick Hancock will depart the North Atlantic islet of Rockall on Saturday - short of his intended 60-day stay but after breaking both the solo and group occupation records. Nick Hanock on Rockall with his survival podule and a small bottle of champagne 40 days atop Rockall. Cheers A couple of days ago, …
Lester Haines, 17 Jul 2014

German brain surgeon flies in for vital LOHAN operation

We invite fans of our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) mission to raise a foaming stein or two today to Linus Penzlien - the man who has recklessly volunteered to perform brain surgery on our Vulture 2 spaceplane's Pixhawk autopilot. Linus poses with a quadchopper Linus, 34, will fly from his native Hamburg to the …
Lester Haines, 17 Jul 2014

Japanese artist cuffed for disseminating 3D ladyparts files

A Japanese artist has been arrested for disseminating "3D printable design files" of her own genitalia, 3DPrint.com reports. Megumi Igarashi, 42, was cuffed by Tokyo Metropolitan Police for allegedly supplying virtual ladyparts via email to a "30-year-old man in Kagawa Prefecture" and "many others" back in March. Igarashi, …
Lester Haines, 15 Jul 2014

Delaware pair nabbed for getting saucy atop Mexican eatery

A jiggy Delaware pair who allegedly indulged in some hot burrito meets soft taco action atop a Mexican restaurant have been charged with a buffet of offences including "lewdness", "indecent exposure second degree" and "resisting arrest". According to Newark Delaware Police Department's Facebook presence, an officer rushed to the …
Lester Haines, 15 Jul 2014
The inflatable approaches a swell-lashed Rockall in 2003

Rockall pod-dweller Hancock beats solo occupation record

Brit adventurer Nick Hancock has broken the Rockall solo occupation record of 40 days – set back in 1985 by ex-SAS bloke Tom McClean. Hanock tweeted his success today as he eyes the next record, which would involve surpassing the 42 days spent atop the North Atlantic granite outcrop by three Greenpeace activists back in 1997. …
Lester Haines, 14 Jul 2014
A proposed LOHAN mission patch

LOHAN seeks stirring motto for spaceplane mission patch

The Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team has decided that in the best tradition of space endeavour, our audacious Vulture 2 spaceplane mission needs a proper embroidered patch so that we may reach for the heavens in style. In fact, having something to sew on your flight suit/lab coat is pretty well obligatory, and …
Lester Haines, 14 Jul 2014

Canuck reader threatens suicide over exact dimensions of SPAAAACE!

It's been a while since I've received a decent flame email, so it's hats off to one Lorne Babcock for this missive which sizzled into my inbox this morning, bemoaning the headline "Beer in SPAAAACE! London Pride soars to 28,000m"... SPAAAACE! How many A's should there be in the word space? The years go by Lester, and you do …
Lester Haines, 14 Jul 2014
Nick Hancock and his survival podule atop Rockall. Pic: Nick Hancock

Plucky Rockall adventurer prepares to leave islet

Brit adventurer Nick Hancock is preparing to leave the North Atlantic islet of Rockall, short of his planned 60-day stay but probably after he breaks the two existing occupation records. Nick Hancock and his survival podule atop Rockall. Pic: Nick Hancock Not long now: Nick Hancock and his survival podule atop Rockall Hancock …
Lester Haines, 11 Jul 2014

Beer in SPAAAACE! London Pride soars to 28,000m

"Pics or it didn't happen" is a common commentard cry down here at El Reg, so we're disappointed to report that last week's audacious mission to send a pint of London Pride to the upper atmosphere ended without airborne imagery. The BALYOLO - BAL (Balloon) YOLO (You Only Live Once) - flight launched last Saturday from the The …
Lester Haines, 11 Jul 2014

El Reg nips down IKEA's 'I've Got A Screw Loose Street'

We're delighted to report that the Valladolid tentacle of flatpack world superpower IKEA does indeed lie on "I've Got A Screw Loose Street", and we've got the photos to prove it. Back in 2011, as construction of the 34,700m2 particle board megarepository was under way on virgin ground in Arroyo de la Encomienda, on the outskirts …
Lester Haines, 11 Jul 2014

Reg reader fires up Pi-powered anti-cat garden sprinkler system

It's a tip of the hat today to Reg reader Joshua Thumim for putting the humble Raspberry Pi into the service of humanity with a simple but effective feline repellent system. Joshua explained: For the last few years, pretty much every time I (or my two small kids) wanted to use the garden I'd first have to remove 3-5 cat …
Lester Haines, 08 Jul 2014

Manhattan drone pair cuffed for NYPD chopper near miss

A pair of Manhattan residents were cuffed in the early hours of yesterday morning after allegedly endangering a NYPD police helicopter with a quadchopper. According to the New York Daily News, cops claim Remy Castro, 23, and Wilkins Mendoza, 34, were "remotely piloting a DGI [sic] Phantom 2 drone" on a flight over the Spuyten …
Lester Haines, 08 Jul 2014

Alabama quadchopper hits THREE THOUSAND FEET next to AIRPORT

An Alabama UAV enthusiast has been told by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) to steer clear of airports after he sent a quadcopter up to 1,100m (3,609 feet) within five miles of Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport (BHM). Michael Mayhew posted an impressive video of the DJI Phantom 2 flight on YouTube, and shared …
Lester Haines, 07 Jul 2014

Going up: Fancy a virtual flight to 30km above the PLANET?

Those of you who've always fancied a trip to 30km above the Earth's surface, but have neither the money nor a pair of cojones the size of a plucky Playmonaut's, are directed to this interesting KickStarter campaign in support of a "Virtual Ride to Space". Dr Aaron Knoll - a "lecturer in the field of plasma propulsion" at …
Lester Haines, 07 Jul 2014
Nick Hancock and his survival podule atop Rockall. Pic: Nick Hancock

Storm-battered Rockall adventurer recalls 'worst experience of my life'

Brit adventurer Nick Hancock has admitted he's "never been so scared", after enduring a storm last week that blew a good part of his food supplies off the North Atlantic islet of Rockall. Hancock landed on the granite outcrop on 5 June, hoping to spend 60 days in a survival podule, in the process breaking the occupancy record of …
Lester Haines, 07 Jul 2014

Royal Navy parks 470 double-decker buses on Queen Elizabeth

Today saw her Maj QE2 smash a bottle of Islay malt whisky over her floating namesake at Fife's Rosyth dockyard, as she hailed "a new phase" in Blighty's glorious naval history. The carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth is a 280-metre-long behemoth which promises a maritime capability equal to that of its voracious appetite for taxpayers …
Lester Haines, 04 Jul 2014
The Pi in the Sky board mounted atop the Pi in the Vulture 2

Vulture 2 fills beak with Pi in the Sky

It's all go at the front end of our magnificent Vulture 2 , and following the recent taming of the spaceplane's cantankerous canards, we've now mounted a hot-off-the-press Raspberry Pi in the Sky - the dedicated telemetry board for the Raspberry Pi. Fans of our Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) project will know that …
Lester Haines, 04 Jul 2014

Booze in SPAAAACE! Brit rocket boffin preps bold stratobeer mission

A British rocket scientist with a sideline in High Altitude Ballooning (HAB) tomfoolery will tomorrow push the envelope of space endeavour by attempting to send a pint of London Pride bitter into the stratosphere. When he's not boffining it up down at European Astrotech, Chris Smith can be found propping up the bar of his local …
Lester Haines, 04 Jul 2014
Video

Is there too much sex and violence on TV?

British television's 9pm watershed is 50 years old this month, and TV watchdog Ofcom has published figures showing that while it's still relevant in protecting kiddies from the worst televisual excesses, viewers are increasingly tolerant of sex, violence and bad language. The watershed ensures there's a non-abrupt transition to …
Lester Haines, 04 Jul 2014
The inflatable approaches a swell-lashed Rockall in 2003

Rockall batters plucky Brit adventurer

Plucky Brit adventurer Nick Hancock has been forced to plan an early departure from the North Atlantic islet of Rockall after a storm deprived him of a large part of his vital supplies. He tweeted yesterday: Got battered by weather last night. Lost 4 barrels kit inc food. Need to come off early. Looking at options with @ …
Lester Haines, 03 Jul 2014
The canards bolted to the Vulture 2, with Playmonaut in his seat

Experts suspiciously eye LOHAN's cantankerous canards

As ever, we're grateful for our reader experts' feedback on the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) mission, and today we have a round-up of your comments on the Vulture 2 spaceplane's cantankerous canards. As we reported last month, the aircraft's forewings have finally been tamed, and here they are attached to the …
Lester Haines, 03 Jul 2014
The Tharsis payload at 30km

Brit SPACE HEDGEHOG team flies student Mars payload

We're pleased to report that the team behind the 2013 space hedgehog drama - which saw a knitted mascot dramatically go awol over Blighty - has finally got a cluster of student experiments in the air without mishap. Last March, CASSiE (Cosmic Ambassador for Space Science and Engineering) accompanied 70 miniprojects packed into …
Lester Haines, 02 Jul 2014