On January 5, 2018 Aviation Week annouced their 2017 Aviation Person of the Year – Tom Enders, CEO of Airbus. Dr. Enders has been a long time supporter of the visionary Perlan Project. We are so pleased to congratulate him on this awesome accolade. Dr. Enders has visited Minden twice and was able to fly a test mission with Chief Perlan Pilot Jim Payne. It was with Dr. Enders’ approval that the sponsorship creating Airbus Perlan Mission II was announced at Oshkosh in 2014.
We were so proud to bring the glider to Oshkosh one year of energetic building later. At Oshkosh 2015 the Perlan 2 parked under the wing of the Airbus 350 Extra Wide Body that was on display. Tens of thousands of aviation enthusiasts got to see where Airbus was focusing some of their interests with the leadership of Dr. Enders. Although Perlan 2 has an 85 foot wingspan, it looked small tucked under the wing of the A350WB.
In March of 2016 Dr. Enders visited Minden, NV the home of Airbus Perlan Mission II. Due to rain the test flight was cancelled, but he was fully engaged as part of the flight crew. He even pushed that big glider back into the hangar. Note the orange tufts for testing the aerodynamics on the right wing. You can hear what Dr Enders had to say about Airbus Perlan Mission II in the beginning of this video link https://youtu.be/tWUUTe1J13c
In May 2016 Dr. Enders returned to Minden with lower clouds than desired. Dennis Tito welcomed Tom Enders to the Tito Perlan hangar. Without those two individuals Perlan 2 would never have flown to the highest ever flight in a sailplane. This time in spite of the weather, we got the flight off, even though it was cut short due to low clouds. This was one of the first pressurized test flights for Airbus Perlan Mission II. Again Dr. Enders was fully engaged in the entire flight process.
In January of 2017 Tom Enders was inducted into the Living Legends of Aviation in Beverly Hills. He included Perlan Project CEO Ed Warnock and Chief Pilot Jim Payne as his guests for the ceremony. John Travolta did a fine job roasting Tom Enders before he was presented with a watch. Photos for the blog came from Airbus, Martin Heltai, Beth Scates and myself. Perlan Soars! Jackie