On September 10 when Hurricane Irma was bashing Florida the Perlan team kept close watch on Sarastoga, Florida home of Perlan pilot Miguel Iturmendi. Miguel was home with his family. We are happy to report no significant damage to his family, house or hangar. Ken McKenzie also reported only very light damage to their home in Fort Lauderdale. The red cloud over Florida covered both of their homes. Wave pilots probably respect the power of the wind more than any other group of aviators.
On September 9, 2017 Perlan 2 again went wave searching with Jim Payne and Tim Gardner at the controls. The Airbus Perlan Mission II ground team prepped the glider the day before. The forecasts were not strong but there would be wave. The balloon team gathered fresh data which showed very light winds at the tropopause. But the sky started looking a bit better so they decided to give it a try.
Airbus Perlan Mission II tail camera photo from 54,000 feet (pressure altitude). Watch the Perlan 2 tail camera video as Morgan Sandercock takes the controls above 52,000 feet and tries out the handling qualities of Perlan 2. Jim Payne says "it flies better above 40,000 feet than below 40,000 feet." YouTube 2-minute 4k video at the top above 52,000 feet (GPS altitude) from Perlan 2 tail camera:
Airbus 1:08 minutye video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hn5faC6xhEk
Airbus 3:30 minute video https://youtu.be/tWUUTe1J13c
Enjoy as Perlan Soars High! Perlan Se Eleva Alto!
On September 3, 2017 Airbus Perlan Mission II became a testament to what a volunteer team can accomplish. Perlan 2 flown by Jim Payne and Morgan Sandercock clawed their way to 52,172 feet GPS altitude with tenacious flying and strong support from the ground crew. The forecast was for soft wave below 18,000 feet then slightly better wave with another difficult transition at 34,000 feet - if you could get there. Doesn't sound much like a world record forecast, huh?
On August 23 and August 31 regional ANAC and EANA personnel respectively visited the Airbus Perlan Mission II team. ANAC is like FAA Aircraft and Pilot Certification in America. EANA is like Air Traffic Control in the USA. The presentation for ANAC was made by Jim and Miguel. Our guests were able to get any questions answered and see the Perlan 2 for themselves. Airbus folks were in the hangar on that day. Jim, Tago and I were amazed that we had met Director Altamirano some years before at Perito Moreno (town) airport. And we always make photos with the unique glider (ANAC Photos 1-6)
August 29: Eleven years ago in El Calafate Einar Enevoldsen and Steve Fossett flew to the soaring world altitude record of 15,460 meters. Tago was a member of that first team and is with us in El Calafate. He shared his photos from that amazing day. We celebrate their fabulous effort and accomplishment. The genesis of Perlan 2 was born on their way down from the record height. Salud!