On April 11, 2017 the Perlan 2 glider took to the air for a Functional Check Flight. Finally it was ready for a Return to Flight low altitude, unpressurized mission. Jim Payne and Tim Gardner launched behind Silvio Ricardi in the SoaringNV Pawnee tow plane. Jim and Tim did a very thorough preflight checklist. Stewart, Brad and Jackie assisted as ground crew. Stewart carries his own personal windsock with him at all times, as the photo illustrates.
Morgan Sandercock, pilot, project manager and contributor to the Perlan Project gave a presentation to the biennial OSTIV Congress in Benalla, Australia.
El Calafate is on the middle of the south shore of Lago Argentino. It is the largest lake in Patagonia and is fed by Perito Moreno Glacier - the White Giant on the west shore of the lake only 80 km away. The Parque Nacional Los Glaciares contains many glaciers but Perito Moreno is the most notable and accessable. It moves 7 feet per day so there is a lot of calving off the 200 foot wall which meets the lake. All of the Perlan team made time to visit this glacier.
October 7, 2016.
The 2016 Argentina wave season has ended for the Airbus Perlan Mission II team. We learned and accomplished a lot, but strong wave conditions never materialized. The Perlan team put together an amazing network of supporters in Argentina.
It was a brief high altitude Argentine wave season with no good weather during expected prime time of August and September. But Airbus Perlan Mission II made the most of what weak wave was available. We learned an incredible amount about the support available in Argentina, particularly El Calafate. This final flight, on September 26, 2016, with Jim Payne and Tim Gardner was also a learning experience.
On September 21, 2016, Airbus Perlan Mission II hosted a media day in El Calafate, Argentina. We also hosted a "Battle of the Forecasts" for weather. But Jim Payne and Tim Gardner decided to take a tow to see what lift they could find. And it proved the right choice!
We had a chance for weak wave on Septermber 18. Team Perlan wanted to test some of Morgan's extensive software updates for flutter testing, Life Support Systems Display (LSSD), and telemetry. We also wanted a larger beta testing of the Virtual Cockpit software by Loris Gliner which is based on our telemetry data. Jamie had the new HeliUshuaia helicopter ready for a photo chase mission. Due to the complexity, dual languages, dual radio frequencies and focus on safety we briefed the day before AND the morning of the flight with Jim's Powerpoint slides.