Scientific American Read on The Perlan Mission

Airbus Group CEO Tom Enders (L) and chief pilot Jim Payne (R) stand with the Airbus Perlan 2 manned glider prior to their test flight May 7, 2016 at Minden-Tahoe Airport in Minden, Nevada. Credit: TIMOTHY A. CLARY AFP, Getty Images

Earlier this month, Nature recently released an article on the Perlan Mission, “Glider Aims to Break World Record—and Boost Climate Science” by Declan Butler. The article discussed the mission’s goal for the glider to attempt to break the world altitude record for gliding by reaching 90,000 ft on atmospheric mountain waves. The glider will carry scientific instruments for climate, aerospace and stratospheric research that cannot be done using other means. Lastly, the article discussed the initial goals of the project and the future of the Airbus Perlan Mission II as they continue their flights in Argentina and moving into 2017. Below is the article again featured on Scientific American.

NATURE article on the Perlan Mission

James Darcy/Airbus Group Perlan 2 aims to break the glider altitude record of 15,445 metres.

NATURE recently released an article on the Airbus Perlan Mission II , “Glider Aims to Break World record — and Boost Climate Science” by Declan Butler.

Dr. Elizabeth Austin, of WeatherExtreme Ltd. discussed the glider and the scientific instruments used for climate, aerospace and stratospheric research.

The glider will carry instruments to measure levels of aerosols and greenhouse gases, including ozone, methane and water vapour, and will gather information on the exchange of gases and energy between the two lower layers of Earth’s atmosphere: the troposphere and the stratosphere. Those data, to be collected this year and next, could improve climate models, which account poorly for these atmospheric interactions and contain “horrific” uncertainties about the levels and behaviour of water vapour at stratospheric altitudes, Austin says.

The article discusses the goal of the Airbus Perlan Mission II to break the world altitude record for gliding and focuses on the science behind the glider. Its aim is to fly higher than any other piloted aircraft using stratospheric mountain waves as seen in the image below.
nature_news_Perlan2-altitude3_WEBSource: Nature

Lastly, the article touch base on a brief history of the original Perlan Project, it’s upcoming flight in El Calafate, Argentina, and the future goals for Airbus Perlan 2 in 2017.

Airbus says that many of the weather phenomena Perlan 2 will encounter will provide useful information for it and other aircraft makers that are contemplating operating aeroplanes at higher altitudes.

Once Perlan is fully tested, says Austin, she hopes to get funding to use the glider as a long-term scientific platform that would examine how hourly, seasonal or even decadal changes in the stratosphere affect weather and climate.

To read the full article, click here