Ten years ago on August 29, 2006 Einar Enevoldson and Steve Fossett made history with a sailplane flight to 50,722 feet (15,460 meters) from El Calafate, Argentina. They were extremely cold and their pressure suits, on loan from NASA, had inflated to the point of being stiff. After they knew they had achieved the altitude for the record they decided to come down.
On that return descent, the idea of the pressurized Perlan 2 was born. It has taken 10 years for Perlan 2 to return (like a salmon) to its birthplace. After the tragic loss of Fossett in 2007, the project languished for lack of sponsorship. Morgan Sandercock stepped up to fund the design of the fuselage. Dennis Tito breathed life back into the Perlan Project with major funding in 2011. Tito captained the helm through the design and construction phase. Strategic-thinking Dennis also sponsored four scouting trips to Argentina (2011-2015) to fly Patagonia wave while the Perlan 2 was under construction. He built a hangar in Minden, Nevada to become the home for Perlan 2. Then Airbus became the title sponsor in 2014, supporting the final phase of construction, assembly of sailplane, all flight testing, and Campaigns in Argentina.
Last night August 29, 2016 the Perlan team was hosted by Edurado Braccelenti (owner of Santa Monica Cabins) to celebrate our return to El Calafate. Eduardo's lovely home overlooking Lago Argentino, with the built-in indoor open barbeque grill provided warmth and hospitality to the team.
Our first order of business was to call Einar and Susana to wish them a happy Perlan anniversary. The team included them in our social chit-chat using Jim's MagicJack phone connection.
We feasted on Eduardo's traditional Argentine food with his extra touch. We enjoyed bottles of Malbec brought especially for such hospitality direct from boutique wineries in Uco Valley near Mendoza (Napa Valley of Argentina). Thanks Tago and Victor!
Eduardo was presented with a team cap as a small thanks for his gracious hospitality.
And finally we toasted with Mendoza bubbly to Perlan Project - the past, the present, and the future. The photos from this blog came from Tago , Martin and myself.
Perlan Se Eleva! Perlan Soars! Jackie