It was a brief high altitude Argentine wave season with no good weather during expected prime time of August and September. But Airbus Perlan Mission II made the most of what weak wave was available. We learned an incredible amount about the support available in Argentina, particularly El Calafate. This final flight, on September 26, 2016, with Jim Payne and Tim Gardner was also a learning experience.
On September 21, 2016, Airbus Perlan Mission II hosted a media day in El Calafate, Argentina. We also hosted a "Battle of the Forecasts" for weather. But Jim Payne and Tim Gardner decided to take a tow to see what lift they could find. And it proved the right choice!
We had a chance for weak wave on Septermber 18. Team Perlan wanted to test some of Morgan's extensive software updates for flutter testing, Life Support Systems Display (LSSD), and telemetry. We also wanted a larger beta testing of the Virtual Cockpit software by Loris Gliner which is based on our telemetry data. Jamie had the new HeliUshuaia helicopter ready for a photo chase mission. Due to the complexity, dual languages, dual radio frequencies and focus on safety we briefed the day before AND the morning of the flight with Jim's Powerpoint slides.
On 9-16 the helicopter from Ushuaia arrived. The R-44 copter has less than 10 hours on it. We took advantage of a calm, cool evening for a photo shoot. The clarity of the light is magnificient and sunset gives that warm glow along the leading edge of the wing.
On September 15-16 representatives from Comodoro and Buenos Aires ENAC and ANAC came to El Calafate to see the Perlan 2. Empressa Argentina Navegacion Aerea (similar to ATC) is a brand new agency in Argentina which started August 1.
On September 14 and 16 Perlan Project hosted several classes of local high school age students from El Calafate. Previously Perlan Project had gone to the classrooms. Now they came to the hangar. This was organized by Liz Kennick, president of Teachers in Space. She was assisted by Miguel Iturmendi, bilingual Perlan test pilot, and Alec Guay, college Intern responsible for CubeSat logistics.
The wind strength and direction are of utmost importance on any wave mission. On Tuesday the 13th (Argentine equivalent to American Friday 13th) we decided to practice a wave mission, first celebrating Doug and Hector's joint birthdays. But, we really needed a practice day with a long tow and full telemetry testing.
After the first short flight in Argentina there were some tweaks and improvements made. So on September 11, 2016 Perlan 2 took to the skies of Patagonia for the second time. Jim and Tim Gardner piloted this one, with Morgan as Cap Com and Miguel on radios.