How sweet it is!!! The photo is from tail camera at 26,000 feet with southern half of Lake Tahoe in bottom right corner. The volunteer Perlan Team based in Minden has worked incredible hours to get the Perlan 2 glider ready to go to Argentina. Only two milestones remained up till the morning of June 16, 2016. Both of them were achieved with this flight #18.
Not only did we load pilots in the glider but the first ever Teacher in Space experiment was loaded into the science bay. Jim and Tim wave soared the Perlan for 3.7 hours with over 2 hours above 25,000 feet. It was mediocre wave which was gone by mid-morning. Perlan has self-imposed crosswind restrictions which are scheduled for envelope expansion. During this flight the flutter excitation system was activated 5-6 times at various altitudes, symmetric, a-symmetric, torsional, and cold soaked. The telemetry system sent data to the ground so the last major milestone was achieved. Tom's moving map showed us with the telemetry where the glider was located all during the flight. The Perlan custom designed Life Support Systems Display (LSSD) reported temperatures, O2 percentage, battery usage, cautions and warnings when beyond custom set parameters, and controlled the flutter system. Morgan and Tom have done the team proud! Dennis says we have designed and are testing a space craft. He should know about that! And the marshmallows puffed out as demonstrated by the thread tied around their girth!
When it was time to come down they tested a fast (controlled) descent with the spoilers out. At 8,000 feet they announced intentions to land into a quiet radio. In the next few minutes 5 other power planes (including a P-51) also came in to land at Minden. Where was Perlan 2? What? At 7,600 feet? Oh, Jim found a "ratty thermal" and Perlan 2 let the power planes land first, as friendly glider guys. We toasted the major accomplishments of this flight with sparkling San Pellegrino! It was our first flight posted to OLC for 67 points.
Perlan Soars! Vamos a Argentina!!!