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.

First Flying Surfaces Underway

The mold-building process has begun on the horizontal tailplane.

This is the first of the “flying” aerodynamic parts to be started. It is proceeding in exactly the same way as the fuselage. First we cut a foam block with the CNC machine, then sand and paint it to make a plug. The mold is laid up on the plug, using high-temperature carbon fibre and resin. The actual parts will be laid up in the mold with lightweight pre-preg carbon fibre cloth.

Second Rebreather Test

The rebreather system development is continuing. We have sucessfully tested some more refinements to the design. Jeff Bozanic has been invaluable, contributing expertise and identifying some diving hardware which will be useful to us.

James Murray, Jeff Bozanic and Morgan Sandercock discuss the rebreather components.

Progress on fuselage plugs

The fuselage plugs have been painted in their final coat of paint. There is still a lot more sanding and surface preparation before we can start construction of the mold.

Successful Window Test

As predicted last week, testing the window with full pressure and cold temperature has blown up the test box with no damage to the window.

The test box was filled with offcuts of blue foam and sealed up. More blue foam was placed on top to hold the dry ice. The dry ice surface temperature was -100F and it froze the window surface down to -70F. Then we pressurised it to above the fuselage design pressure and held that pressure for 30 minutes.

Then we increased the pressure until the box exploded. Watch the 30-second video above.

More Team Members Recognised

Jim Murray and Pat McLaughlin have been working on phase 2 of the project for several months now. We have only just gotten around to adding them to the “team” page on the web site.

Patrick is the owner of Mountain High, which makes the best oxygen systems available for regular gliders. He has been working on the cabin pressurisation system for the Perlan.

Jim has been working with Jeff Bozanic (who will be added to the team page soon) on the rebreather system.