On July 18, 2017 Airbus Perlan Mission II took to the skies over Patagonia. Jim Payne and Tim Gardner in Perlan 2 made a short check flight with no expectation to try for altitude. There are so many integral components to a successful high altutude wave flight. All must be tested prior to the big day. All personnel must be ready, weather balloon launched early, glider serviced with full battery, oxygen, and air, the tow plane functioning, telemetry set up, weather analyzed, coordination with the tower briefed, cockpits loaded, camera displays on, look at the skies, pressurization checks 100 percent, and finally radio comms with tower maintained prior to tow out.
On July 16 we were hopeful to get the first wave flight accomplished. Unfortunately the cross winds were gusting 47 knots 40 degrees off the runway heading. We look at forecasts for low, mid level and high altitude wave. Mid level was very soft. Last year we found it impossible to climb through mid level with no lift even though you could see lennies above the glider. So instead of flying, we made it a productive hangar day. Horacio from La Nacion newspaper was at hangar before 8. He got lots of photos including group shots. Martin did as well.
On July 14, 2017 the Airbus Perlan Mission II team was finally ready to take to the skies of El Calafate, Argentina. The pressurized 2 seat glider was purpose built to fly high in mountain and stratospheric waves.
On July 14, 2017 the Perlan Weather Balloon crew got up very early. They took breakfast with them to the hangar. Sandra, Elizabeth, Loris, Stewart and Martin got the helium into balloon and were ready to launch.
July 14, 2017 Everyone on the Perlan Team put max effort into today. Tim and Alec prepared the rebreathers and performed the systems checks. Stewart and Morgan put together telemetry antenna and early set-up. Stewart and Jim trouble shot the tow plane radio.
July 12, 2017 While our friends in Minden are cooking with temperatures near 100 F, we are wearing snow boots and fur hats inside the hangar in El Calafate. Today started -3 C and finally warmed to 5 C. That's a relative heat wave as the high will only be 2 or 3 C for the next two days.
July 11, 2017- A lot was accomplished today! The 12 people from Perlan all worked another full day. Elizabeth, Loris, Alec and Sandra made great progress on getting the weather balloon software to read the GPS data. Our checklists were updated with new procedures. We had another productive meeting about operational procedures with EANA tower folks.
July 10, 2017- There's a lot of preparation work that is crtical for Airbus Perlan Mission II success. A new oil pre-heater was installed on the Boreo tow plane. We knew from Minden that one of the accelerometers had stopped sending data. So Morgan and Stewart found the broken wire problem and repaired. There was a meeting with local officials about launching weather balloons.