The primary stakeholders for the Airbus Perlan Mission II met to discuss budget and logistics last week. Thanks to the generous contributions of AVExperts, Perlan Project can fund a 2023 Campaign in Argentina with a rather austere budget. What we still hope to gain from our supporters is donations to fully fund interns, student developed CubeSats, and educational expenses. Donation is easy on Perlan’s website. All the following photos show team volunteers – your donations go 100% to the mission goals.
The energy from team members was off the charts while working in the Minden hangar. Have a look at this 1:20 minute montage of preparation, ground testing, and inventory. https://youtu.be/Eu9FLPenMlg
Perlan 2 last flew in July at Oshkosh but of course that was low altitude and unpressurized. In 5 ice cold hangar days at Minden, team members Morgan and Sandra Sandercock, Tim Gardner, Stewart Tattersall, Jim and Jackie Payne were joined by Miguel Iturmendi, Michael Batalia, Ed and Linda Warnock.
The team performed an oxygen system leak test, a pressurization test with the flight hatches, cleaned rebreathers and replaced sensors, cleaned masks and replaced some components and finally conducted a full pressurization test using the rebreathers. Everything passed with flying colors. As Jim remarked “a very robust system.”
The special compressor pump that supplies extremely dry air for the flight bottle for the cabin interior air got new filters, O rings and oil. Jackie and Jim handled that.
After 4 years of hangar storage, CEO Ed and Linda Warnock made a complete Perlan inventory. Not only did we need to know what supplies we had on hand, but also where they were stored in the hangar and any expiration dates.
Cameras, computers and any other instrumentation were powered up and battery levels assessed. A new HDMI cable was installed from the cockpit through the pressure bulkhead to the tail by Stewart.
We wish we could buy new cameras but they are no longer produced. The Sony FDR-X3000 and the Garmin VIRB 360 served us well. The cameras must be able to fit into the tail tip which physically limits our choices. In a pressurized glider there will never be a selfie stick out the window! We are extremely careful on Perlan’s wings and tail to not create any shock waves at altitude. So no cameras hanging off the wings.
CapCom computers and radios were set up and tested by Sandra, Morgan, Michael and Stewart. One cold soldier joint was redone. The 2 independent High Altitude Flight Recorders LX-9000HAFRs got wifi modules installed and checked by Tim Gardner and Matthew Scutter.
Anytime the weather went above 40F Jackie and Jim were outside removing snow from the shipping container roof, painting and fixing the container. The seaworthy container certificate was renewed after a visit to Minden by Bill Conners.
Jim spent hours shoveling snow around the hangar. He, Tim, Stewart and Mountain Mike broke up the huge berm of ice on the shady side of the hangar.
To celebrate these amazing accomplishments by the team in a cold hangar we all went to a Basque dinner at JT’s. It was so reminiscent of our previous campaigns in El Calafate. The tradition continues!
Logistically Jackie Payne and Tago DePietro have contacted our export and import brokers, truckers, container certification, insurance, lodging, and rental cars. No show stoppers there!
Tim had applied for the new Perlan 2 airworthiness certificate. It was received last week.
Sandra Sandercock is in contact with Argentina military and government entities. Tago is in contact with Mendoza and El Calafate based organizations. Linda Warnock is pursuing team clothing and supplies.
We still have several milestones to accomplish in our quest for 90,000 feet. Please consider supporting our mission by donating on our website. Become a part of this unique historic (dare I say heroic) aviation campaign!
Perlan Soars! Jackie