On Monday July 23, 2017 the Airbus Perlan Mission II team went all out to make a wave flight happen. The balloon team launched early and their data confirmed it was marginal for wave. We like winds from the west but there was a significant band of wind from the north at mid levels. So any wave would be capped low, yet the surface winds were very brisk.
Nonetheless the ground crew bundled up to get the pressurization checks done outside on the ramp. Both of our interns Alec and Loris each had a wing while Stewart hooked up the tow rope on the runway. Cholo in the CNVVM's Boreo tow plane pulled Jim and Tim in Perlan2 to the suspected secondary wave lift location. They released around 12,000 feet in weak wave. They milked it for all they could get, climbing to just above 20,000 feet. The winds were blowing 65 knots and the glider airspeed was 65 knots for a ground speed of "parked, but climbing." Thankfully, 20k was enough altitude to penetrate upwind toward the suspected primary wave lift. That burned off 6,000 feet. However, closer to the clouds covering the Andes the lift was not as strong.
So many people watched on the Virtual Cockpit that the server was overloaded. We have plans to help that starting tomorrow. Tim got some fabulous in flight photos which I will try to share tomorrow. Jim's comment after landing was Buen Vuelo, Mal Onda (Good flight, Bad wave). But both Jim and Tim had big smiles once back at the hangar. The satellite photo for the afternoon shows little, if any, hint of wave clouds. The team really enjoyed coming back to the cabins for some of Martin's hot chicken soup. Tomorrow we will check the weather again and hope for wave.
Perlan se Eleva! Jackie