Posted: Mon 4th Sep 2017

Airbus glider ‘Perlan Mission II’ sets new world altitude record as it soars to 52,000ft

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Monday, Sep 4th, 2017

Airbus Perlan II engineless plane made history yesterday in the Patagonia region of Argentina by soaring to over 52,000 feet and setting a new world altitude record for gliding.

Perlan Mission II the Airbus backed initiative to fly an engineless glider to the edge of space using stratospheric mountain waves, these rising air currents are significantly heightened just a few times a year in only a couple places on earth by the polar vortex. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

It’s believed the record attempt occurred on the last day of a window of atmospheric conditions needed to push the glider to that height. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The Airbus Perlan Mission II pressurized glider soars above the peaks of the Andes near El Calafate, Argentina, where on Sept. 3 it broke a glider world altitude record by reaching 52,172 feet with Perlan Project pilots Jim Payne and Morgan Sandercock at the controls. (Airbus photo by James Darcy.)

Chief pilot Jim Payne and co-pilot Morgan Sandercock completed this historic Perlan 2 flight from Comandante Armando Tola International Airport in El Calafate, Argentina, surpassing the previous 50,727-foot world record for glider altitude that was set in the unpressurized Perlan 1 by The Perlan Project founder Einar Enevoldson and lead project sponsor Steve Fossett in 2006. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The area around El Calafate, nestled within the Andes Mountains in Argentina, is one of those rare locations where these rising air currents can reach the stratosphere. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Ed Warnock, CEO of The Perlan Project said;

“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.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The tail camera of the Airbus Perlan Mission II pressurized glider captures a panoramic view from the world-record setting altitude of 52,172 feet, which pilots Jim Payne and Morgan Sandercock attained in their engineless craft on Sept. 3 in the skies over the Patagonian region of Argentina. (Photo courtesy Perlan Project.)

Tom Enders, Airbus CEO commented;

“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.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​


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