Tearful, poetic Reg readers hail heroic, departed Playmonaut

The short 'naut who cast a long shadow


We're obliged to all those readers who've offered condolences at the loss of our heroic playmonaut, who disappeared in the English Channel last week during a Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) mission.

Our heroic Playmonaut atop the PARIS cocktail

Many of you were moved to quote from High Flight by John Gillespie Magee, and our man certainly "topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace".

LOHAN team member Neil Barnes was part of the dramatic rescue attempt off the Sussex coast on Saturday, and was reminded of Pieter Bruegel Landscape With The Fall Of Icarus by William Carlos Williams:

unsignificantly
off the coast
there was
a splash quite unnoticed
this was
Icarus drowning

Our pilot with the X-15

On the same theme, Colin Miller offered Iron Maiden's Flight of Icarus, cheekily slightly altered to fit the occasion:

As the Sun breaks above the ground
A playmonaut stands on the hill
As the ground warms to the first rays of light
A birdsong shatters the still
His eyes are ablaze
See the madman in his gaze
Fly, on your way, like an eagle
Fly as high as the Sun
On your way, like an eagle
Fly, touch the Sun

Our man standing on the Moon

Alternatively, what about a bit of Latin, as suggested by commenter Irony deficient...

Lacrimosa dies illa,
Qua resurget ex favilla
Judicandus homunculus.
Huic ergo parce, Deus.
Pie Jesu Domine,
Dona ei requiem.
Amen.

Our playmonaut at the ISS

Here's a nice piece of work by Words of Art, flagged by ukgnome:

Floating endlessly on the waves
The shore no longer beckons
Surrounded by the billows and gales
A force with which he reckons
Longing and anguish fills his heart
Faces fill his mind
As the sun and salt beat down and sting
He holds tight and waits for a sign
Those he left are lifting prayers
To the unseen One above
He prays himself as he holds on
And tries to feel their love
Never has loneliness held such meaning
Nor sorrow held such weight
What he would give out on this sea
To know his ending fate
Should he give in to sleep or fight it back
Cry for help or mercy
Relive his memories or stay alert
Oh would that help would hurry!
The day is done, the sun rides low
O'er all the salty waves
Tomorrow is another day to fight
And pray that he'll be saved.

Our playmonaut in an F-22 Raptor

Our special thanks go to a couple of readers who came up with original compositions in honour of our lost playmonaut. Alan Esworthy's haiku makes reference to the somewhat dodgy wind prediction responsible for the unexpected splashdown:

SPB shortcut:
trusting government data,
sad playmonaut loss.

Our playmonaut tries out a jetpack, watched by a circling vulture

Sad indeed, but let's end on a note of optimism, with this epic effort by CmdrX3:

One bitter morn' he set off for the skies,
The playmonaut's trip planned out by the wise.
High into the air he rode his balloon,
praying the planner was not a buffoon.
Higher and higher he continued to soar,
The wind rushing by with a deafening roar.
At just the right time the balloon gave a bang,
so loud was the noise, our hero's ears rang.
As he stopped rising up and started to stall,
The parachute opened and eased up his fall.
Quickly he realised that things were not right,
The wind suddenly changed and hastened his plight.
He dropped lower and lower as he flew further South,
He thought of his planner with his hand over mouth.
As the coastline approached he knew it was trouble,
The speed of his plastic heart started to double.
He looked to the East and in the distance saw Brighton,
But he knew as he passed he couldn't stop fightin'.
He went further and further out over the Channel,
Wishing he packed up some soap and a flannel.
There was nothing he could do now but sit there and wait,
And as the water got closer he pondered his fate.
After what seemed like an age he finally splashed down,
And as he floated along he prayed not to drown.
Meanwhile back on the coast of old Blighty,
The panic to save him was rushed and quite mighty.
In the search for a boat Playmonaut's team ran to and fro,
When finally they found the good ship Even-Flow.
They sped to the spot they last logged his flight,
Hoping their hero would be quite alright.
On the sides of the boat they were staunchly perched,
Long into the evening they searched and they searched.
No sign of their friend could any man find,
This would be a day when the gods were not kind.
Sadly they left and returned to the dock,
The pub was awaiting and to there they would flock.
They all raised their glasses to their friend lost at sea,
And then they all toasted his replacement to be.
Back in the dark as our hero looked on,
He watched the boat search and then it was gone.
He knew on this night he was now on his own,
So decided to fight on instead of just moan.
He paddled so hard his arms started to ache,
But more and more progress he started to make.
As the dawn sun came up he gave a quick glance,
In the distance was land and he knew it was France.
with safety in sight he knew he had to give more,
So with new vigour he swam ever harder to shore.
With one more big push the dry land was in reach,
so exhausted he pulled himself onto the beach.
As he lay on his back and looked up at the sun,
he sighed and he smiled as he knew he had won.
And so ends our story of a hero so bright,
Who proves it pays never to give up the fight.

Well, there's always the slim chance the Special Projects Bureau's pilot might turn up on some foreign shore, although we're not holding out much hope. Here's how we'd like to remember our heroic flyboy - at the controls of the Vulture 1 spaceplane during our famous Paper Aircraft Released Into Space (PARIS) mission...

So, join us in raising a glass to the man who "danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings"...

Our Playmonaut celebrates with a brace of blondes

Share your thoughts in the forums by clicking here. ®


Further LOHAN resources:

  • New to LOHAN? Try this mission summary for enlightenment.
  • You can find full LOHAN coverage right here.
  • Join the expert LOHAN debate down at Reg forums.
  • All the LOHAN and Paper Aircraft Released Into Space (PARIS) vids live on YouTube.
  • For our SPB photo archive, proceed directly to Flickr.
  • We sometimes indulge in light consensual tweeting, as you can see here.

LOHAN - A Special Projects Bureau production in association with...

  • 3T RPD logo
  • University of Southampton logo
  • Applied Vacuum Engineering logo
  • Escher Technologies
  • Flashpoint Fireworks logo
  • HAB Supplies logo
  • Rock 7 logo

Paper Aircraft Released Into Space

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • 5G C-band rollout at US airports slowed over radio altimeter safety fears
    Well, they did say from July, now they really mean from July 2023

    America's aviation watchdog has said the rollout of 5G C-band coverage near US airports won't fully start until next year, delaying some travelers' access to better cellular broadband at crowded terminals.

    Acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen said in a statement this month that its discussions with wireless carriers "have identified a path that will continue to enable aviation and 5G C-band wireless to safely co-exist."

    5G C-band operates between 3.7-3.98GHz, near the 4.2-4.4GHz band used by radio altimeters that are jolly useful for landing planes in limited visibility. There is or was a fear that these cellular signals, such as from cell towers close to airports, could bleed into the frequencies used by aircraft and cause radio altimeters to display an incorrect reading. C-band technology, which promises faster mobile broadband, was supposed to roll out nationwide on Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile US's networks, but some deployments have been paused near airports due to these concerns. 

    Continue reading
  • IBM settles age discrimination case that sought top execs' emails
    Just days after being ordered to provide messages, Big Blue opts out of public trial

    Less than a week after IBM was ordered in an age discrimination lawsuit to produce internal emails in which its former CEO and former SVP of human resources discuss reducing the number of older workers, the IT giant chose to settle the case for an undisclosed sum rather than proceed to trial next month.

    The order, issued on June 9, in Schenfeld v. IBM, describes Exhibit 10, which "contains emails that discuss the effort taken by IBM to increase the number of 'millennial' employees."

    Plaintiff Eugene Schenfeld, who worked as an IBM research scientist when current CEO Arvind Krishna ran IBM's research group, sued IBM for age discrimination in November, 2018. His claim is one of many that followed a March 2018 report by ProPublica and Mother Jones about a concerted effort to de-age IBM and a 2020 finding by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that IBM executives had directed managers to get rid of older workers to make room for younger ones.

    Continue reading
  • FTC urged to probe Apple, Google for enabling ‘intense system of surveillance’
    Ad tracking poses a privacy and security risk in post-Roe America, lawmakers warn

    Democrat lawmakers want the FTC to investigate Apple and Google's online ad trackers, which they say amount to unfair and deceptive business practices and pose a privacy and security risk to people using the tech giants' mobile devices.

    US Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Cory Booker (D-NJ) and House Representative Sara Jacobs (D-CA) requested on Friday that the watchdog launch a probe into Apple and Google, hours before the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, clearing the way for individual states to ban access to abortions. 

    In the days leading up to the court's action, some of these same lawmakers had also introduced data privacy bills, including a proposal that would make it illegal for data brokers to sell sensitive location and health information of individuals' medical treatment.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022