Once the Egrett arrived and was in-processed it was time for some test tows of Perlan 2 behind the powerful tow plane. The first test flight was set up for only 11,000 feet to determine the optimum parameters.
On Saturday August 11 the Egrett finally arrived in El Calafate to provide powerful tows for Airbus Perlan Mission II. For months Mike Malis has worked on acquiring, refurbishing, and installing a tow hook on the Egrett and getting it signed off.
While we were waiting for the Egrett tow plane to arrive, it was finally time to orchestrate a dress rehearsal for a Perlan 2 wave flight from El Calafate. The max pressure test had been successful. The to-do list of preparation was almost all checked off. Systems had been checked individually since arriving in Patagonia. But we needed to test if all systems worked together, particularly the new upgrades.
With both front and rear hatches new in 2018 for Perlan 2, we wanted to verify their strength. The pilots decided what the expected pressure differential at our highest altitude might be. Then we tested above that for a margin of safety. Our Life Support System Display LSSD monitors a plethora of data. This time we wanted to pressurize to 9.5 differential psi to test the new hatches.
In 2018 Airbus Perlan Mission II has a more ambitious plan for wave soaring in the stratosphere.
In mid July 2018 Perlan Project had several meetings in Buenos Aires with supporters. Sandra Sandercock the Perlan - Argentina Liason arranged meetings last year with the aviation authorities EANA and ANAC. This year the meetings were with the Argentina Air Force, CITEDEF, and UTN .
When you have a campaign in a remote area of Patagonia you take everything necessary with you. Knowing the actual (not forecast) winds at all altitudes is extremely helpful on the day of a wave flight. Elizabeth Tattersall led the weather balloon crew last year, so she knew just what to do. Sandra and Loris were her able assistants for this first weather balloon launch in 2018 from El Calafate.
Assembling the unique high altitude pressurized Perlan 2 is a bit more complex than your typical glider. However the procedure is still familar to other glider folks around the world. We inspect everything very carefully since it has traveled for 8 weeks to get to El Calafate. Thank you to AeroClub Lago Argentino for use of their hangar and their support.