The Airbus Perlan Mission II team has begun to gather in southern Argentina in El Calafate. High altitude clouds over Lago Argentino welcome Perlan Project to our second home for 2 months. We have found a place to hang our hats (and jackets and gloves) in our home in El Calafate. Our stalwart CEO Ed Warnock and purser Linda Warnock were first to arrive in El Calafate. However Tim Gardner came a week earlier to Mendoza to pick up supplies and a truck to drive south. Tim and Victor Paz (bilingual friend of Perlan) stopped in Comodoro Rivadavia to give a mission brief to the EANA controllers (like ATC Center Control in US) who work the unusual high altitude pressurized glider flights.
Tim and Victor got the first class treatment with tours, meals and tips for sightseeing. Tim said it was wonderful "meeting the last day with the presentation, the tower tour, the tour of the ACC facility, operations discussion with controllers, and meeting with Search and Rescue." Tim and Victor talked with the interested parties for over 5 hours. Mabel Villarroel, the Comodoro EANA chief of Region Sur (south), was presented a tail camera photo from 76,000 feet (pressure altitude). Tim presented a new Perlan cap to Juan Rodeles, the controller who worked the highest ever subsonic flight (with or without an engine). With Tim and Victor are (left to right) Mariana Dappiane-chief of tower, Tim, Mabel, Gustavo Castillo-chief ANS for Comodoro, Victor, and Daniel Bru-chief of operations for Comodoro. In the audience wearing orange Search and Rescue jackets are Ignacio Lara and the chief Juan Soto. Thank you Tim and Victor for driving out of your way to help our Argentine friends understand the challenges we face and the safety procedures we have used for 3 years of world record breaking high altitude soaring.
Meanwhile in El Calafate the team began to gather. Due to many delays in the shipping of the container (another blog - someday) the team arrived across a period of 2 weeks. Jet lag (4 hours for west coasters) was absorbed, meetings were set up with involved Argentina agencies (another blog - soon), and the fabulous sights of southern Patagonia were visited. Parts of the team traveled to Torre de Paine (8th wonder of the world voted by TripAdvisor fans), El Chalten - Mt FitzRoy and Cero Torre, Perito Moreno glacier, and a boat ride around Lago Argentino to see the icebergs from Upsala, and the pristine Spegazzini glaciers. (another blog - soon).
We had a great team dinner with Ignacio in El Calafate. We all know the real work begins when the container arrives in El Calafate.
Perlan Soars! Jackie