From May 2-5 Teachers in Space visited Perlan in Minden, sponsored by Perlan Project. Chris Murphy was team lead for 3 Ashford School science and robotics teachers. Kathryn Craven, Dorey Manfre, and Carly Imhoff have just completed training for Perlan 2 high altitude flights and balloon flights. Their students designed one of the cubesats. Perlan team member Doug Perrenod was the liason with Liz Kenneck of Teachers in Space.
After designing, implementing and installing various upgrades for season two in the Sierra, Airbus Perlan 2 flew its first wave mission April 22, 2017. All systems worked flawlessly. Although wave lift was weak above 25,000 feet they managed 30,960 ft on GPS altimeter reading. This is highest we have been in our methodical envelope expansion, higher than Mount Everest's 29,000 feet.
Jim Payne and Miguel Iturmendi launched at 9:30 behind Silvio Riccardi in SoaringNV's Pawnee. Our morning ground crew of Tim and Jackie was augmented by Alan and Brad. Also helping in preflight activities from Airbus were Ken, Severin, and Denis. Michael was capcom assisted by Doug. Definitely a team effort!
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.