On September 10 when Hurricane Irma was bashing Florida the Perlan team kept close watch on Sarastoga, Florida home of Perlan pilot Miguel Iturmendi. Miguel was home with his family. We are happy to report no significant damage to his family, house or hangar. Ken McKenzie also reported only very light damage to their home in Fort Lauderdale. The red cloud over Florida covered both of their homes. Wave pilots probably respect the power of the wind more than any other group of aviators.
On the morning of September 11 in El Calafate, the balloon sounding was up and the sky looked very blue. Yet there were hints of possible wave in forecasts and satellite photos from GOES 16. Morgan and Jim decided to saddle up and go exploring. Ground support was very polished and professional to get Perlan 2 out on the runway between commercial traffic ops. Cholo in the CNVVM Boero was ready to tow. To see the blue Patagonia skies watch the 20 second video on YouTube. (Sorry about the wind noise, but it's authentic) https://youtu.be/2ncaAZ8V3G8 Perlan 2 released around 8,600 feet in 16 knots of lift (1600 feet per minute), the best we have seen this campaign. The barogram (altitude) trace goes almost straight up. In CapComm Ed, Al, and Lars kept close watch on telemetry readings on the Life Support System Display (LSSD).
The lift weakened around 16,000 feet. Tim and Loris again scoured the forecasts looking for best possible lift. Tim let Perlan 2 know the location of the best possibilities. Then the pilots' work continued, clawing upward at 1-2 knots average (100-200 feet per minute). Jim and Morgan had to be especially tenancious below the tropopause and climbing through it. They managed 36,000 feet, but could not find lift to climb higher. So it was time to search for another potential hot spot. But -11 knots sink (1100 feet per minute down) burned through that hard won altitude very quickly.
A thick cloud intrusion started encroaching from the west. There are 3 photos from the hangar looking west only 20 minutes apart. Perlan 2 decided to return to land. The sky was much more cloud covered at the time of the landing.
Each time we fly we learn something new. The Airbus Perlan Mission II priority is safety and success, in that order. The flight log can be viewed at https://www.onlinecontest.org/olc-2.0/gliding/flightinfo.html?flightId=2...
Perlan Soars High! Perlan Se Eleva Alto! Jackie