A Leighton-based aerospace engineer has turned space flight into an artform – by releasing 100 stylised paper airplanes from a box at 120,000ft.
Dave Curtis, 31, who works at BE Aerospace in Grovebury Road, took on the unique project with former colleague Chris Driscoll – the pair spending more than 10 months on planning and execution.
Both Dave and Chris, also 31, were initially inspired after watching a video produced by two Canadian students, who sent a Lego man into the atmosphere using a home stitched parachute in 2012.
From there Dave and Chris took their interest in weather balloons to the next level and have now launched more than ten camera carrying payloads into near space.
Previous efforts included a teddy bear that was sent up carrying a marriage proposal.
This time the pair took their intentions to new heights by creating a craft that could open bay doors to release 100 biodegradable paper planes held inside. The project was given a twist as the paper planes were made from prints of work by artist Vivian Ching, whose painting of a pair of glasses with legs was attached to an arm in front of the on board camera.
The craft was sent up to 120,000ft by a large weather balloon last month. After the release it popped a parachute to send it safely down in an Oxfordshire field.
The pair have now finished compiling a video of the flight.
Dave told the LBO: “During the trial the GPS plotted it would land in Norway so we are pleased it went as planned. There is always an element of risk you could never get it back but the footage is amazing and we were blown away.”