On April 29 the Perlan team successfully conducted the first airborne deployment test of Perlan's drogue parachute.
(The BRS parachute is for lower altitude recovery/landing.) Minden airport ops provided fantastic support. Stefan from SoaringNV gave a great tow. Teachers in Space Liz and Joe were awesome ground support and photographers. Bumper Morgan flew his Husky as photo chase with Tim Gardner behind the camera. Gabe Bourbeau signed off the re-assembled glider. Greg Scates had assembled the drogue which was painted an ugly orange so it might be found after the flight. Tom Stowers had created the new release handles. And of course the core team of Morgan, Doug, Tim, Stewart, and Jim had worked incredibly long hours to get ready for this flight.
We towed the Perlan 2 out to glider ramp off Runway 30. This flight was to be done with vented hatches, not rebreathers and pressurized hatches. Jim and Morgan took off just before noon with the orange painted "stinger" tail cone with a brisk wind from 270 at 12 knots. They released at 5,000 ft agl (9,700 ft) and did a few test manuever doublets. At 7,600 ft Jim deployed the fully reefed drogue chute which extracted perfectly. Also perfect was the video capture from 2 cameras. The orange carbon fiber shell had a 100 ft yellow and black striped ribbon streamer for visual tracking. The pilot chute appears pale orange in photos and the main chute (fully reefed) is yellow. After a few minutes of flying with the deployed chute, Jim pulled the release at 6,600 ft for a clean jettison near the airport. If you look closely, you can see the heavy black cord inches from the tail, just as chute is released. We really could not believe it when the parachute landed right in the middle of the closed runway near the large X. Talk about an easy retrieve! The flawless flight was finshed with a flawless landing directly across from the waiting ground crew, holding the wings level and steady in the brisk slight crosswind. After a celebration lunch at Tail Dragger Cafe, we found the orange tail cone! --Jackie