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