On August 20, 2018 for Perlan 2's third high altitude stratoshperic practice tow, Jim and Tim were ready to give it a try. The ground team supported with all the pre-flight items on the check lists. The Egrett was ready to tow. There were calm surface winds so Alec had to really sprint for his wing run. Tim took some great in flight photos of over the glaciers and inside the cockpits just before the 42,800 foot tow release. We have posted a never before seen 360 video of the 15 seconds around the release. Have a look at the contrail, the Egrett, and the clouds over the Andes. Move your cursor around to scan the entire sky. Go to https://youtu.be/Ov4xata9EZU
The wave forecast was very poor, but we are here to fly and gather data. The Perlan 2 validated that weak forecast. CapComm worked every model to find any potential to climb. It just wasn't there. At the altitudes they fly with the necessary true airspeeds more lift is required to "break even." Typically we need the orange color-coded band of lift for any climbing. Jim and Tim climbed a bit and stayed aloft for a 5.3 hour flight.
After 4 hours colder than -60C (the most ever) it was time to warm up the flutter exciters and collect more data. The next test point was a max effort rapid descent from 40,000 feet. The barogram trace is pretty amazing. We saw sustained -2500 feet per minute down.
If you watched the Perlan Virtual Cockpit you saw most of this near real-time with commentary added by CapComm via Twitter. Join us for the next flight by either following on Twitter, or go to our PerlanProject.org website and sign up for email notification. Or from numbers in the US text "Perlan" to 57682 for a text notification when flying.
After warming during the descent, Jim scraped the frost off the eyeball windows so he could see better for landing. As expected the tire was flat upon touching down. But we had our trusty dolly and air compressor in the back of the tow truck. We were off the runway in no time. As always the team will improve any items necessary before next flight. Perlan Soars! Jackie