The production process we are using to build the Perlan is based on the normal process for mass production of gliders. (In the glider business 50 to 100 is considered to be a lot of gliders.) This is necessary for accurate control over the weight and other properties of the finished glider. Unlike a normal prototype, we can’t make allowances for inaccuracies in the building process like extra blobs of epoxy resin or dry spots in the carbon fibre.
First, an apology for not letting everyone watching the blog know about the Perlan appearance at the Oshkosh airshow. It was only organised at the last minute and the blog was offline until almost the end of the show. We did try to get the word out on Facebook and Twitter but not everybody uses those.
The Soaring Society of America has just wrapped up its convention in Litte Rock, Arkansas. The Perlan Project was represented there by the project director, Einar Enevoldson, and other Perlan team members.
This mockup cockpit has been made from the ‘production’ molds so it tested the production techniques as well as becoming a ‘plug’ for molds which will make internal parts such as the all-important pressure bulkhead. It is a fantastic visual aid to let everyone know what the finished glider will look like.
Morgan recently visited Omarama, New Zealand, to fly in the unique conditions and learn from some of the world’s top experts on wave flying. Omarama has a special connection to the Perlan Project as the team was based there for several seasons early in the project.
While he was there, Morgan was asked to make a presentation to the pilots to let them know where the Perlan is up to. The presentation was well-recieved, with many questions asked at the end.
The Soaring Society of America is holding its annual convention in Little Rock, Arkansas on January 28-30 this year. The Perlan Project will be there with a new mockup of the forward fuselage. If you want to see if you fit in the cockpit, then this is a good chance to try it for yourself.
Our project meteorologist Elizabeth Austin took this picture of lenticular clouds over her house in Nevada yesterday.
Lenticulars are important to glider pilots because they only occur when there is wave activity. Sometimes the wave might be too weak to support a glider or there is no lift underneath the wave that would enable us to climb up into it but these deeply-stacked lennies in the photo indicate lots of strong wave.
The mold-building process has begun on the horizontal tailplane.
This is the first of the “flying” aerodynamic parts to be started. It is proceeding in exactly the same way as the fuselage. First we cut a foam block with the CNC machine, then sand and paint it to make a plug. The mold is laid up on the plug, using high-temperature carbon fibre and resin. The actual parts will be laid up in the mold with lightweight pre-preg carbon fibre cloth.