Perlan Group announces sponsorship by Airbus at Oshkosh

The Perlan Team with the glider
As chief scientist of the Perlan Project, Inc., Dr. Elizabeth Austin, CCM of WeatherExtreme Ltd. is pleased to announce the recent sponsorship of the Perlan II Mission by the world renown aircraft manufacturer, the Airbus Group. The Airbus Perlan II sponsorship was unveiled at the EAA Airventure Oshkosh 2014 event and will aim to help build and fly a glider high above 90,000 feet to the edge of space. The record-breaking flight is set to occur in 2016.

Perlan Pilots wave flight on April 25, 2014

perlanimage-1-640x380
Perlan pilots, Jim Payne and Dennis Tito had a fabulous wave flight on April 25, 2014. The photo shows a triple lenticular cloud over the Owens Valley. They took off and landed at Rosamond, CA, and flew almost 1,000 miles (1,614 km) traversing up and down the Owens Valley. The furthest north they flew was around the Mammoth Lakes region where they had to turn south again due to the increased moisture. The next morning the 24-hour snowfall totals at Mammoth was 21 inches and at Kirkwood Ski Resort just south of Lake Tahoe was 28 inches.

New Speed Record for the Perlan DG 1001M

pre-485x6501-1-485x380Last night Jackie Payne sent out a short note via e-mail from California around the world: “If all paperwork goes ok, looks like 135 kph for a 521 km triangle. That should beat two US national multi-place triangle speed records.” This morning my SeeYou states “all reached turn points rounded ok, task completed” and documents 134.45 km/h during 521.8 kilometers.

Early in the morning of Earth Day (April 22nd), Jim Payne and Dennis Tito launched for another record mission. Flying in the famous Sierra Wave their goal was to beat the existing 500 km triangle speed record with their “unflapped” two-seater. After launching at Rosamond Skypark, the DG 1001M first headed up North in wave to reach the first turn point near Bishop, CA. To get to the second turn point they first turned around to later leave the primary wave, heading eastwards into the direction of Death Valley National Park. To close the triangle they flew back to Rosamond Skypark.

But instead of landing there Jim turned the glider’s nose back up northwards: “We plan for an easy afternoon on Earth Day!“ After only four hours of soaring there was enough lift left to do it again…

Jackie Payne who followed their efforts from her desk had a quick satellite phone conference with her husband who told her about clouds to contend with on first turn point west of Bishop. Right after rounding it he and his Perlan-Partner Dennis Tito lost 9000 feet in only ten minutes. After reaching the second turn point somewhere in the middle of nowhere, the crew had 80 kts headwinds to overcome… but finally clouds around the finish point to duck under. Otherwise, Jim said, they could have been faster.

Dennis Tito and Jim Payne posing for Jackie’s camera
While Jim and Dennis enjoyed the rest of their day up high, Jackie decided to spread the word. Shortly before switching off the lights in Europe, I received her e-mail note and asked for a picture of the day. Jackie’s answer was simple: “I’m packing for Mexico right now. The pilots are headed for near the border in El Centro, CA. Been there several times before. They should land around 7 pm local.”

Sounds like another long retrieve-drive… Well, have a safe drive and a good night at “your” hotel next to El Centro airport! After getting up this morning I enjoyed a quick look into OLC’s daily scores and found Jim and Dennis had completed another 1,570.8 km flight. The yoyo had helped to rise the total speed to 159.4 km/h during almost ten hours of flight. Feel free to have a look into the flight and read Jim’s OLC comment. Congratulations!

Source: Soaring Cafe

Photo depicting wake vorticies generated by aircraft

airvorticies-1-680x380This is an incredible photo depicting the wake vorticies generated by aircraft. The two counter rotating vortices are clearly visible in the cloud as it spins around.

Vorticies generated by smaller aircraft are almost negligible, however, vorticies generated by larger, heavier aircraft can be extremely dangerous. The aircraft’s weight, speed and shape (configuration) govern the strength of the vorticies it creates.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) states that between 1983 and 2000, there were 130 aircraft accidents and 60 aircraft incidents in the U.S. that resulted from probable encounters with wake turbulence. 14 of these accidents were fatal (11%). Eighty-seven of the accidents (67%) and forty-seven of the incidents (87%) occurred at or below 200 feet above ground level.

Sholto Hamilton “Dick” GEORGESON- May 7, 1922 – March 27, 2014

dick1-1-680x380
Sholto Hamilton “Dick” GEORGESON
May 7, 1922 – March 27, 2014

It is with a heavy heart that I write this blog posting. On Thursday March 27, 2014, the world lost a lovely man, Dick Georgeson. His full name was Sholto Hamilton Georgeson but everyone called him “Dick”.

Dick grew up in New Zealand and was a pioneer New Zealand glider pilot. He discovered the potential of the Makenzie Country (near the center of the south island of New Zealand) mountain wave system and even diagrammed it out on paper.

On December 16, 1960, Dick set a world height record and soared his wooden Skylark 3F Glider, registration ZK-GCF, to 34,395 feet (10,484 meters). For the next twenty years Dick went on to set many more world records and New Zealand records in various gliders.

Dick was so enthusiastic about the weather, discovering new things and was always sending me unusual cloud formation photos that he and I would then spend time trying to figure out how/why they formed.

Dick was so excited about the Perlan Project and had such wonderful insight into the mountain wave when we were flying out of Omarama New Zealand.

Einar Enevolson, the Perlan Project Founder, and I were talking about Dick on the phone yesterday and Einar made a wonderful comment that pretty much sums things up. He said “Isn’t it great that we knew Dick!”

My thoughts and best wishes go out to his family including his children, grand-children and his wife, Anna Wilson. He will be missed dearly!

Elizabeth Austin
President, WeatherExtreme Ltd.