When many of the Perlan team departed El Calafate, the weather was not safe for the tow plane to fly. Cholo was able to fly out from El Calafate on Monday.
At the end of a successful campaign there are many people to thank. First is all the team members who traveled to El Calafate taking from 3 weeks to 3 months out of their busy lives. Each one of us put the mission above our personal lives and it is deeply appreciated! The team members who supported from outside El Calafate were also important to our success. We knew we could count on them to assist with any challenge.
On September 15 the Perlan team finished loading the container. It takes some preparation to get everything in the proper place and tightly secured.
Perlan 2 has a unique system to communicate with the ground. We call our ground station Cap Comm shortened for Capsule Communication. The software program was written by Tom Payne with Morgan Sandercock. Tom wrote a very robust program that could accept our in-the-field revisions without crashing the program. The Life Support System Display (LSSD) is seen in the cockpit and in CapComm. The flutter excitation data is also seen both in the cockpit and can be sent to CapComm. Photos are of CapComm on the day of the highest flight.
Michael Batalia explains telemetry:
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 September 9, 2017 Perlan 2 again went wave searching with Jim Payne and Tim Gardner at the controls. The Airbus Perlan Mission II ground team prepped the glider the day before. The forecasts were not strong but there would be wave. The balloon team gathered fresh data which showed very light winds at the tropopause. But the sky started looking a bit better so they decided to give it a try.
Airbus Perlan Mission II tail camera photo from 54,000 feet (pressure altitude). Watch the Perlan 2 tail camera video as Morgan Sandercock takes the controls above 52,000 feet and tries out the handling qualities of Perlan 2. Jim Payne says "it flies better above 40,000 feet than below 40,000 feet." YouTube 2-minute 4k video at the top above 52,000 feet (GPS altitude) from Perlan 2 tail camera:
Airbus 1:08 minutye video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hn5faC6xhEk
Airbus 3:30 minute video https://youtu.be/tWUUTe1J13c
Enjoy as Perlan Soars High! Perlan Se Eleva Alto!
On September 3, 2017 Airbus Perlan Mission II became a testament to what a volunteer team can accomplish. Perlan 2 flown by Jim Payne and Morgan Sandercock clawed their way to 52,172 feet GPS altitude with tenacious flying and strong support from the ground crew. The forecast was for soft wave below 18,000 feet then slightly better wave with another difficult transition at 34,000 feet - if you could get there. Doesn't sound much like a world record forecast, huh?