It was a perfect day for a check flight and photo chase mission. Crystal blue skies, no clouds, and no winds - Argentina Patagonia at its finest. Perlan 2 leaped skyward with test pilots Jim Payne and Miguel Iturmendi behind the mighty Egrett with the Airbus photo chase helicopter tracking it all. Arne Vasenden was the tow pilot and Jamie Darcy was inside the copter behind the camera.
On August 20, 2019 Airbus Perlan Mission II soared in Patagonia skies for the first time this campaign. With the long delay on the container, the Perlan team was ready to launch Perlan 2 for a return to service flight. Jamie Darcy had his video crew and photo chase helicopter ready. The glider had all necessary systems checked for low level flight. There had been lots of team hours spent getting the glider ready. The Egrett was ready to go. As a special guest Einar Enevoldson's grand daughter was visiting and she was ready to see Perlan 2 fly. With everything ready, it was time for Jim and Miguel to soar!
The high altitude Perlan 2 glider is almost ready to soar over Patagonia! After several days of checking systems and installing upgrades it was time to put the wings on. Everyone was really excited to be this close to flying. The hangar of AeroClub Lago Argentino was filled with activity and anticipation.
Perlan El Calafate Meetings
Airbus Perlan Mission could not successfully operate from remote Patagonia without strong support from Argentina organizations. We met with representatives from many groups – governmental, volunteer, and informal. Perlan 2 has unique operating conditions and limitations. We wanted to reacquaint ourselves with our supporters and meet any new administrators.
Airbus Perlan Mission II is getting ready for Argentina Campaign 2019! Yesterday the container which shipped from Minden, Nevada over two months ago was unloaded in El Calafate, Argentina. In Minden, it took more than 7 days to pack the container with the Perlan 2 glider, all the equipment and the necessary spares for safely operating at a remote location in Patagonia. Yesterday with the enthusastic team of 20 ready to go to work, it only took 70 minutes to unload!
We got the good news that the Egrett and the Perlan container were released from Mendoza customs!
While the 2019 Perlan Argentina team awaited the container (full blog someday) we have been very productive. There have been several meetings with Argentine organizations to coordinate activities (future blog). But we also took advantage of the nearby iconic Patagonia sites. Morgan made this fabulous photo earlier of sunset over El Chalten with a clear skyline imposed with a familiar logo. A fair weather visit to the glacier Perito Moreno was in order and I captured a photo of ice chunk breaking off the 200 foot face. That's a massive Patagonian hay wagon.
A question that we frequently get at presentations is "Why didn't you keep climbing if the lift was still there?" Even engineers and pilots don't necessarily understand (or respect) what flutter at these unexplored altitudes and associated fast true airspeeds can rapidly do to an airframe. Theoretical equations are not proven experience. We have done all that we can to approach this challenge with discipline. We don't want a case of "summit fever" to destroy all our preparations.