July 9, 2017 was Unloading Day for Perlan and Independence Day for Argentina. The truck arrived last night and the crane arrived this morning. The Perlan team was in place to download and unload the container. First we needed to sweep and clean the hangar. The hangar aircraft needed to be shuffled to create room for an 85 foot wing span.
July 8, 2017 Today was the big arrival day at El Calafate for Airbus Perlan Mission II. Tim and Alec were the early scouting party. They started getting the rental cars ready and met two groups at the airport.
Cholo and Raul departed the Atlantic coast in the CNVVM tow plane at sunrise. Is that a beautiful golden view?
The events of July 6-7, 2017 in Argentina were extremely worthwhile for the Perlan Project. The logistics of a Campaign in Patagonia are incredibly complicated. In the past 2 days it is coming together. Tim and Alec arrived in El Calafate after driving hard for three days on the scenic Ruta 40 parallel to the Andes Mountains in Patagonia. Santa Monica Cabins are ready to become team headquarters for 10 weeks.
On July 4th Tim and Alec drove from Marlague to Bariloche down Route 40. This mostly paved road is 5,000 km (3,000 miles) in total. It is a classic like Route 66 in USA.
While the polar vertex has begun to spin high over El Calafate, our Airbus Perlan Mission II team has begun to arrive in Argentina. Tim Gardner and Alec Guay were all smiles as they exited the Mendoza airport yesterday July 2, 2017.
From January through April 2017 the Perlan team kept a low profile while working on upgrades for the Perlan 2. Here's a partial list of improvements that are ready for Campaign Two in Argentina. Probably most significant is the ability to seal the cabin for pressurization while in flight. This allows air circulation with cooling and drier air during the hour-long tow from El Calafate. Now the desiccants can easily keep up with the increased humidity from two pilots wearing insulated cold weather flight suits. Jim developed the concept and Andrew Oullet designed the hardware. John Kregl from Automated Metals manufactured the parts for the new system, and Greg Scates installed and reinforced the new latches. Hangar testing went very well. The good news is that it worked flawlessly on the first test flight from Minden.
For 2017 the Perlan Project shipping to Argentina has been much smoother than last year. The trailer inside the container departed Minden on May 16. That was one day behind schedule. It loaded unto a Hamburg Sud vessel out of Long Beach with 5 hours to spare. It took a late gate exemption to make that cut off. Thanks to Claudia Ortiz of A.Hartrodt we did make the sailing.
The vessel went to Mexico where it transshiped to a different vessel headed to Chile. Since that second boat was 2 days ahead of original schedule we were not sure our container made it onto the new vessel. But it did, with 2 hours to spare! That is cutting it way too close for my mental health. But Hamburg Sud was awesome ensuring that our baby was well cared for every step of the way. They are great people to work with. You want to do business with a company that cares for its customers.
Since Jim and Jackie would be in Washington DC on June 22, 2017 for a National Aeronautic Association award program, Airbus decided to leverage that trip for Perlan. At 8 am Kristina Messner from Focused Image took us to the ABC television station for an interview about Argentina Campaign Two with David Kerley. See http://abcnews.go.com/Travel/video/meet-man-attempting-break-world-glidi... Then we drove over to the Airbus Center on Pennsylvania Ave.
Ken McKenzie and Jamie Darcy met us on the 8th floor of the Airbus Center. At their museum I was amazed to see a 1:4 scale of the Perlan 2 glider monopolizing one wall. There was more great interest by top name media - NBC, WTOP radio, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), Aviation Week, USA Today, Science magazine, and others. See https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/06/22/glider-project-aims-highe...