On February 28, 2016 The Airbus Perlan 2 glider took to the skies while pressurized. This was a historic day for Perlan Project and one of final critical milestones prior to beginning altitude wave soaring in this unique aircraft.
Chief Pilot Jim Payne and co-pilot Tim Gardner were delighted with the quick sealing of the both hatches in less than 15 seconds. The uniquely designed Life Support System Display (LSSD) by Morgan Sandercock, Tom Payne and Tim Gardner operated flawlessly. We selected a low cabin altitude to test how the pressurization system would work during the tow to 5,000 feet agl (9700 feet msl). The system worked exactly as designed venting air and adding air to maintain the selected pressure altitude.
The sky showed lenticular clouds at tow time, but it was high altitude wave and they didn't connect. Silvio Ricardi once again gave an excellent, smooth tow prior to release. During this tow Tim attempted to fly the tow using the wide angle tail 4D video camera mounted inside the top of the vertical tail. Jim used his eyballs out the "eyeball" windows to coach Tim through some gentle turns on tow. After release from tow, only simple maneuvers were conducted to compare stick forces to the 8 previous non pressurized flights. Smiles from both pilots upon landing. The core all-volunteer Perlan team celebrated in the hangar after this first pressurized flight.
Next steps will be the installation of Pro-Tint's anti-fogging film on inside of windows and the last major milestone of installation of the re-breather systems from BioMarine. After that we expect much fine tuning as we start altitude work.