One of the more challenging aspects of every wave flight of Perlan 2 is the tow. On the September 9, 2017 wave day the air that the CNVVM tow plane and Perlan 2 flew through was dynamic. It could be compared to a moderate roller coaster ride. The video linked below shows a 4 minute composite of that hour long tow.
The one-of-a-kind pressurized glider Perlan 2 is assembled similar to a normal large two-place glider. We pull out the fuselage and each wing from the special built Cobra trailer. We have created our own heavy-duty rigging aids like metal rolling saw horses modified by Greg Scates, a wing-rigger with air jack for fine tuned adjustments made by Tom Stowers, and a tail dolly made by Silvio Ricardi. The photos and video are in the Aero Club Lago Argentino hangar at the El Calafate airport.
On January 6, 2018 Perlan Project hosted title sponsor Airbus for the quarterly review meeting. Since the Perlan 2 glider was in Rosamond for upgrades requiring carbon fiber parts, we held the meeting at nearby Hilton Garden Inn in Palmdale, CA. After the meeting we reconvened in Greg Scates' hangar for some "inverted show and tell."
On January 5, 2018 Aviation Week annouced their 2017 Aviation Person of the Year - Tom Enders, CEO of Airbus. Dr. Enders has been a long time supporter of the visionary Perlan Project. We are so pleased to congratulate him on this awesome accolade. Dr. Enders has visited Minden twice and was able to fly a test mission with Chief Perlan Pilot Jim Payne. It was with Dr. Enders' approval that the sponsorship creating Airbus Perlan Mission II was announced at Oshkosh in 2014.
In the off-season Airbus Perlan Mission II is making more upgrades to the Perlan 2 pressurized glider. Team member Greg Scates has been invaluable in creeating solutions for these upgrades. Previously he came to Minden to the cold hangar to make and cure carbon fiber parts. This year we decided to take the Perlan 2 to Greg's warm hangar in sunny Rosamond. (Greg and Paynes are across the taxiway neighbors at Rosamond Skypark.) Since Greg knew that he would be working upside down on the inside of the cabin, he decided to invert the glider instead.
Alec Guay, the two-year Perlan intern, made cubesats in Perlan 2 his collegiate senior engineering project. He flew to California for some hands on design and fabrication. The impetus to this project was threefold. We wanted a better rack to hold the cubesats. We need more battery power in the Perlan 2 for longer flights and we wanted to move the center of gravity more aft.
On November 30, 2017 Perlan Project gave a talk co-sponsored by China Lake chapter of American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and the China Lake Museum. The afternoon started with a personally guided tour of the China Lake Museum by Bob Campbell. Bertha Ryan and BJ Holden are long time friends of Perlan and instrumental in setting up this event. Bertha authored the biography of Einar Enevoldson published a few years ago.
On November 29, 2017 NASA Armstrong (previously Dryden) hosted it's 50th Colloquium Series about innovative aviation. Perlan Project was honored to be selected again.