The Perlan Project continues to set new records as it continues its journey to reach altitudes of 90,000 feet. Smithsonian’s Tom LeCompte learned more from the crew about the major milestones they plan to meet — More in this article here:
Below are some photos taken over the weekend of Dr. Elizabeth giving a presentation about Airbus – Perlan Mission II to the press and Airbus Executives over the weekend. Dr. Austin is currently Chief Meteorologist for the project and the Airbus Perlan 2 that is set to fly to 90,000 feet at the edge of space to explore the science of giant mountain waves that help create the ozone hole and change global climate models. .
For additional information on the Perlan Project, visit http://www.perlanproject.org
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The Airbus Group’s CEO, Tom Enders, visited the Perlan 2 hangar in Minden NV the first week of March to work alongside the glider team as they achieved a historic milestone with the start of pressurized flights. The Perlan 2 team continues to prepare for their upcoming flight in June. The Perlan 2 is designed to soar on wind currents to 90,000 feet.
The visit began with a detailed briefing from pilot Jim Payne on the custom built glider and its systems. Enders was able to pressurize the cabin and perform a ground test of instrumentation but, unfortunately, they were not able to have an actual flight due to the weather conditions in Minden. Below is a quote from Enders regarding his visit.
It was a pleasure to meet with the devoted innovators behind a scientific mission that will break the world altitude record for level, controlled flight,” Enders said. “This project began as the inspiration of a small group of talented volunteers, and has evolved into one of the boldest endeavors in modern aviation. We’re proud to support a program that so perfectly embodies the pioneering spirit of Airbus.
Stunning images from Perlan Test Flight 0008- Photo Credit: Perlan Project
In June 2016, the Airbus Perlan Mission II is set to attempt its’ record breaking flight in Argentina. The engineless glider’s goal will be to soar up to 90,000 feet – to the edge of space, which will make this flight the highest in history. The engineless glider is designed to sail on ‘stratospheric mountain waves’. Initial trials were successful, with the glider reaching altitudes of 5,000 feet. In early February, the Daily Mail published an article on the mission. In it, they outlined the goals of the project and how the 90,000 ft flight can ultimately “pave the way for hypersonic planes and aircraft on MARS”. The article briefly outlines the history of The Perlan Project and its founder, Einar Enevoldson, who gathered evidence that mountain waves could extend above the troposphere and well into the stratosphere. A few years after Enevoldson’s findings, Dr. Elizabeth Austin, CCM, of WeatherExtreme Ltd., joined The Perlan Project as lead meteorologist. Dr. Austin discovered that the Polar Vortex and one of its principal components, the stratospheric polar night jet, could provide the high speed wind in the stratosphere that could power the incredibly high waves to boost the glider to the desired altitudes. Prior to the Airbus Perlan Mission II flight, Steve Fossett and Einar Enevoldson soared the Perlan 1 glider to 50,722ft (15,460 metres) using these ‘stratospheric mountain waves’ in 2006.