On August 3, 2017 The Perlan Team was treated to nacreous clouds highlighted by the rising sun ito the east (second photo). These are pearlesent in color and are the root of the word Perlan. They are at an extremely high altitude and we were delighted to see them. From our weather balloon data, we expected good wave below 25,000 but it was not clear what would happen above that. Our wind diagram showed that the winds reduced from 25,000 to 30,000 feet. This is not a desirable trait for wave to propigate higher. Studying the SkySight forecasts indicated that the afternoon had a slightly better wave profile. So Jim Payne and Miguel Iturmendi launched the Perlan 2 about 1 pm from El Calafate. Cholo towed them to Cerro Buenos Aires on the west end of Lago Argentino. When they released at 9,700 they had 7-8 knots of lift (700-800 feet per minute up). This was the best lift we have seen thus far so we were very hopeful of making it past the tropopause at 30,000 feet.
Perlan’s blog collects the thoughts and experiences of team members from the multiple disciplines needed to build and prepare the aircraft, plan the flight, and carry out the mission. Here, you’ll find insights from the designers, craftspeople, pilots, meteorologists, and support personnel who will make Perlan’s record ascents a reality. Perlan’s blog will be an opportunity to delve into the challenges and triumphs that travel with the giant sailplane.