MIAMI — World’s first initiative of an engineless aircraft to the edge of space, Airbus Perlan Mission II, was sent yesterday to the Patagonia region of Argentina. It made history by soaring to over 52,000 feet, establishing a new world altitude record for gliding.
Ed Warnock, CEO of The Perlan Project, stated the following, celebrating for the new world record:
“We are celebrating an amazing victory for aerospace innovation and scientific discovery today, and we’re so thankful to all the volunteers and sponsors whose years of tireless dedication have made this achievement possible. We will continue to strive for even higher altitudes, and to continue our scientific experiments to explore the mysteries of the stratosphere. We’ve made history, but the learning has just begun.”
Moreover, Airbus CEO, Tom Enders, shared his thoughts on this milestone and progress of the company:
“With every Airbus Perlan Mission II milestone, we continue to learn more about how we can fly higher, faster and cleaner. But we also learn that aviation still has the power to surprise us, thrill us, and motivate us to find new frontiers of endeavor. Perlan’s outstanding aviation success is the result of bold thinking. It’s this kind of thinking that is the cornerstone of our vision for the future of Airbus, which we hope will inspire a new generation of aerospace explorers and innovators.”
This memorable Perlan II flight was fulfilled by chief pilot Jim Payne and co-pilot Morgan Sandercock from Comandante Armando Tola International Airport in El Calafate, Argentina. It’s noteworthy that surpassed the prior 50,727-foot world record for glider altitude that was established in the unpressurized Perlan I, back in 2006, by The Perlan Project founder Einar Enevoldson and lead project sponsor Steve Fossett.
The Airbus Perlan Mission II is an initiative to operate an engineless glider to the edge of space employing weather phenomena named ‘stratospheric mountain waves’, which is a source of rising air used in the sport of soaring.
Also, they’re significantly increased several times a year in only a couple places on earth by the polar vortex. One of those rare locations where these currents can reach the stratosphere is the territory that surrounds El Calafate, settled within the Andes Mountains in Argentina.
The Perlan 2 glider, due to its engineless design, is a one-of-a-kind platform for scientific discovery and is carrying overhead on every flight experiments ranging in focus from factors controlling climate change to radiation effects on pilots and aircraft at high altitudes.
After the completion of the mountain-wave gliding season in Argentina, the Airbus Perlan Mission II will return to Minden, Nevada, place where the all-volunteer team will transform and improve the Perlan 2 glider based on data acquired in 2017 test flights.
Conclusively, the Perlan Project will venture to reach 90,000 feet, a world altitude record for any wing-supported flight, with or without an engine.