Meet the Team

Only once or twice in a lifetime a chance comes along to be involved in something important and historic.  The Perlan Project is one of those opportunities. A team of talented and dedicated people have come together to fly higher on wings than anyone has achieved before and to make a significant contribution to our understanding of the weather on our planet.

The Perlan team is made up of scientists, educators, engineers, administrators, designers and pilots who have been working together for years to design and build a one of a kind pressurized glider to explore the edge of space. They have backgrounds from NASA, the Air Force, major Universities and corporations.  Between the team members they hold dozens of aviation records, credit for academic papers, design awards and educational awards.  The team is from all over the world - the United States, Argentina, Spain, Australia and Canada.

Founder and Chairman of the Board

Einar, a lifelong glider pilot, former jet fighter pilot in the USAF, and exchange officer with the Royal Air Force attended the Empire Test Pilot...

CEO

Ed has a BS in Aerospace Engineering (Honors and high Distinction) from the University of Arizona and an MA in Systems Theory. When he was working...

Chief Pilot

Jim Payne started soaring at the Air Force Academy in 1971. At the Academy he made his first wave flight and was immediately hooked. His paper...

Pilot | Project Manager

Morgan Sandercock is a glider pilot from Australia. Morgan is the Chief Flying Instructor at the Hunter Valley Gliding Club.

Morgan works...

Pilot | Flight Test Engineer

Miguel A. Iturmendi is a native Spaniard, but has called Florida home for almost 20 years. Miguel holds degrees in Aeronautical Science, Space...

Pilot | Simulator Programmer | Board Member

Tim Gardner joined the Perlan project after meeting Miguel Iturmendi at the Minden Wave camp in 2013.
He works full time for Hitachi Data...

Chief of Logistics and Ground Operations

Soaring and power pilot almost 40 years. 
Award winning math teacher and administrator
Past Chairman of SSA's...

Logistics Coordinator, Argentina

Espartago (Tago) De Pietro, an American who grew up in Mendoza, Argentina, was in charge of coordinating the operations and logistics for the...

Member - Ground Crew

Stewart began living near Lake Tahoe 25 years ago and has been flying since 2000. He has been watching the weather since he was young as a skier...

Composite Expert

Team Member

Tom Payne is an electrical engineer and serial entrepreneur who now utilizes his expertise and success to support new ventures as an investor and...

Board Member

Doug is a retired United States Air Force Lt. Colonel living in north central California, after more than twenty-six years of both active and...

Team Member | Major Sponsor

Dennis earned a B.S. in astronautics and aeronautics from NYU College of Engineering, and a M.S. and honorary doctorate of engineering from...

Board Member

Stéphane has 25 years of experience in the aerospace and computer industries. He began his career as an engineer for Aerojet-Electrosystems, now...

Maintenance Inspector

Gabe is an A&P mechanic with Inspection Authorization  (IA).  He is also an Airline Transport Pilot with commercial privileges for airplane...

Silvio Ricardi

Tow Plane Pilot

Silvio F Ricardi grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina, with dreams of being a crop duster. In 1989, he moved with his family to Melbourne,...

Chief Meteorologist

Dr. Elizabeth Austin, the articulate and dynamic President of WeatherExtreme Ltd, is...

Team Member

JDM is a Principal Scientist with Intel Corporation, where he currently leads a global team of data scientists in information technology...

Instumentation | Scientific Research

Michael joined the Perlan Project in the fall of 2009 after reading an article in Soaring which called for volunteers to participate. His...

Corporate Counsel

Team Member

A test pilot for the US Air Force at Edwards Air Force Base, California, Roger is a member of the Test Pilot School (TPS) and part of the F-16...

Life Support Systems Consultant

Patrick McLaughlin is the inventor and developer of the EDS oxygen pulse delivery system and founder of Mountain High Aviation Oxygen Systems...

Team Member

An electrical engineer, Eric worked for Battelle Memorial Institute on the Hanford Project, where they operate Pacific Northwest National...

Historian

Dean has 34 years’ experience as a technical writer working for electronics and engineering firms.  He documented systems and processes for “...

Team Member

...

Assistant

Reba Coombs retired from Nevada state government after 25 years employed in all three branches of government primarily as an executive assistant...