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
May 8, 2016 started with rain at Minden. By 11:00 the skies were clearing and aviation fun could be had. Tim Gardner flew a ride in his Pitts, SoaringNV got 2 two-place gliders out for several VIP rides.
Despite the rainy conditions in the morning the Perlan team welcomed Airbus CEO Tom Enders and a large group of international reporters to the Tito Perlan hangar at Minden Tahoe airport on May 7, 2016.
On April 29 the Perlan team successfully conducted the first airborne deployment test of Perlan's drogue parachute.
Teachers in Space arrived at the Perlan hangar on April 23. Liz Kennick, Joe Latrell, Chris Murphy, and Austin Reese pitched in immediately with a ground test being conducted for the glider. That's Austin's CubeSat experiment in his hands in the red case.
On Sunday April 24 Perlan Project did a static load test to verify the tail was strong enough to withstand the maximum opening shock from the rear drogue chute. The glider was held taunt between a snow plow in the front and from behind a Ford 250 pickup strapped to a Chevy Suburban.