On March 21, 2016 the Airbus Perlan 2 pressurized sailplane made its first climbing wave flight. The all-volunteer Perlan Team has accomplished this critical milestone after an amazing amount of effort from the core team.
For two weeks the guys in the hangar had installed and tested the re-breathers multiple times. Leaks had to be found, sealed, and re-tested. For a first wave flight very specific weather conditions were needed. Gentle wave was called for, and Minden delivered. Jim Payne and Tim Gardner launched at 9 am and landed at 10:01. They climbed to 16,800 feet and the oxygen system worked well with 99% blood saturation. Although there were 16 double sized desiccant packages in the cabin, there was still high humidity when they landed. Founder Einar Enevoldson was on hand when they landed and enjoyed riding in the Perlan back to the hangar. Support crew was Doug Perrenod, Miguel Iturmendi, Morgan Sandercock, Einar, Ed, and Jackie. The team is now brainstorming some creative solutions to manage relative humidity.
The Minden winds became stronger from the SSW in the afternoon. So Jim and CEO Ed Warnock launched in Dennis’ Arcus for a few hours of local wave experience for Ed. Perlan pilot Dennis Tito had chosen to launch from Inyokern that day in his DG motor glider to better utilize all the Sierra wave weather. He flew with another Perlan pilot Roger Tanner over 1750 kilometers. Stewart Tattersall (aka Road Warrior) was support crew on this flight.–Jackie