So? Tago's 5-0 !!! Tago DePietro has been the Argentine coordinator of logistics for Perlan since the early days of Steve Fossett and Einar Enevoldson. When I realized Tago's 50th birthday would be during our El Calafate preparation time, it was the perfect excuse for a Perlan team party. After he finished the radio interview about this year's Perlan campaign, we were ready for him in the hangar.
The Perlan 2 wings are on! We are getting ready for Airbus Perlan Mission II - Campaign 2018. Again we awoke to fresh snow and icy roads at the end of July! But today we wanted to make progress towards flying in the Patagonia wave. So we scraped windshields and used those studded snow tires. There's so many facets to conducting a high tech remote wave soaring campaign.
The long-awaited Perlan container finally arrived in El Calafate! We had prepped the hangar with Mike and Tim doing lots of broom work. The Tribal truck driven by Daniel Garro arrived about 1 am. The next morning he brought it to the hangar ramp on a drizzly day. Tim climbed up on the back of the truck to open the container doors. We were able to pull the bags with the warm clothes out, but had to wait until the next day for the crane to arrive.
The 2018 Perlan Team got to El Calafte in good order. However a blizzard closed the high passes of the Andes. So our container had a delay at the busy Chilean port of San Antonio. For the past few years the team has really wanted to travel only 4 hours south from El Calafate to the crown jewel of Chilean national parks - Torres del Paine. It was selected by Trip Advisor fans as the 8th wonder of the world.
The Perlan Team gathered in Buenos Aires to fly together to El Calafate. Jim and Jackie Payne met Dan Gudgel and Mike Malis in Atlanta. Georgia thunderstorms caused some delays. But we had hours to spare in Buenos Aires.
You usually transfer between airports EZE (International) and AEP (Domestic). The Tienda Leon bus had a wifi hot spot and the chairs were definitely more comfortable than airline coach. We passed by spectacular old and modern buildings in Buenos Aires.
The 2018 Argentina Perlan Team is on the move! The journey is the destination. Ed and Linda Warnock led the first wave.
They made a delightful side trip to Iguazu Falls in the very north of the Argentina/Brazil jungles. Morgan and Sandra Sandercock flew into Buenos Aires early to enjoy family and some official Perlan meetings. Note she is wearing Oregon shirt and he is wearing Argentina shirt! Stewart and Elizabeth Tattersall flew into Mendoza with lots of Perlan luggage to drive Tago's truck all the way (1700 miles- 2700 km) to El Calafate.
Yes, the original hatches worked for Perlan 2 to 54,000 feet. But the team wanted perfect hatches made to exactly fit the contour of the fuselage openings. The best description of the hatch shape is a Pringle's potato chip. 3-D curvature - both compound and complex. Once the new front hatch was proved a success (see http://perlanproject.org/blog/perlan-2-perfect-pressurization-test ), Greg Scates started on the new rear hatch.
The Perlan saga continues with a new chapter. The first ever tow by an Egrett was designed, fabricated and tested by the Perlan Project team and AV Experts. For Argentina a much more powerful tow plane had been a dream; one hour on tow to 10,000 feet was typical. Then Jim Payne said "What we really need is Einar's Egrett." The Egrett is a very large, very powerful single-seat plane capable of flying relatively slowly.