Perlan Project had several desired upgrades for the 2019 season. In January 2019 Perlan 2 was trailered from Minden to Rosamond passing Mount Whitney along the way. (Above the trailer tires in the photo.) I joked that going to Greg Scates composite shop in Rosamond was like getting a full day at the spa, except this is for 2 months. It is much easier to work inside the inverted cockpit standing up, rather than leaned over and head down if the glider wheel is on the ground. So the Perlan 2 fuselage got inverted to hang on the custom made heavy A-frame. The frame needs to be moved with a forklift and positioned by 4 guys, one on each leg of the A-frame. Since the tail is so tall, the fuselage is fairly high off the ground. For a short video of rolling inverted see: https://www.facebook.com/PerlanProject/videos/1154159661418619/?permPage=1
Greg and Mike Malis removed the left eyeball inner window as the optical clarity was not as good as it could be. The new window from Great Lakes was trimmed to fit and then installed using pro-seal. The carbon fiber edge surround (window frame) was installed after the window had cured. Now the left eyeball matches the right eyeball window. Last year we did the same to the right side, but there was not enough time before shipping to do the left side. Last year the new custom front and rear hatches were the bigger priority.
The next upgrade was to make reuseable plenums to "insulate" the eyeballs. We intend to provide battery driven heat to those windows to reduce the frost build up when it is so cold outside, like -90F (before wind chill factor). In previous years we used a hand held 12v defroster. Mike started with matching the curvature of the cockpit wall. Then he used cardboard to make a template that will attach to the curved instrument panel. Instrument panel in, instrument panel out, repeat. Measure twice, cut once! Capturing that air does 2 things: it allows a small volume of air to be heated and it keeps the moisture from the pilots' bodies away from the window. (The moisture from pilots breathing stays inside the closed loop re-breather systems.)
We will talk about some more upgrades in future blogs. Perlan soars! Jackie