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.
A monumental undertaking was to create an in-flight flutter excitation and telemetry system. The reason is to verify the flutter model developed by ATA. Since wave weather can be infrequent, we don't want to land while the flutter data is analyzed, then wait for the next wave to climb higher.
Because a small town like El Calafate has no crane to lower the container off the truck, Jim and Greg designed a simple but strong lift device with a chain hoist. Times four.
On March 24-25 Smithsonian's Air & Space photographer Chad Slattery was in Minden to get some pictures of Perlan 2. We had to promise to not put anything on our blog page until the actual magazine was published. It was fun to work with Chad and observe his professional eye for photos.
At 0430 PDT on May 20 the Perlan team returned to the hangar for another wave flight. The weather forecasts conflicted so it was a gamble which paid off. We got the flight off before any undesired crosswinds showed up. Jim & Miguel soared to FL208 and added 2.1 hours to the Perlan 2 logbook. Perlan Soars! Jackie
On May 19th Minden FINALLY had wave. We were super excited at the chance to see if the incredible efforts by the Perlan-Mindenites would pay off. We arrived at the hangar literally before the crack of dawn.
Since Minden has had an unusually wave-less Spring, the Perlan Project team has still made progress through ground testing. In temperatures of 60-70 F the cabin became sweltering. (Not so in 45 degrees at dawn.) But we know the tow in El Calafate will be about one hour long. We tried various dessicants in Morgan's sauna-like bathroom. There was lots of weighing material before and after absorption and calculations. Then they decided they needed double the dessicant and a more powerful fan for cabin circulation. Once happy with the humidity control, Greg fabricated a carbon fiber receptical for the desiccant container.
In Mid-May Perlan 2 took to the Minden skies for test flights with tall tows. There had been no wave for weeks and we needed data from some of our upgrades. Doug Perrenod and Morgan Sandercock each flew with Jim Payne. It doesn't show well in photos, but Jim was sweat soaked from shoulders to knees. More-better dessicant material is needed. Jackie