Airbus Perlan 2 Glider Begins Quest for the Stratosphere


Perlan at OSH

If we were to tell you an engineless airplane was attempting to reach 90,000 feet what would you think? Not remotely possible, right? How could an airplane with no powered thrust source go so high? Well the Airbus Perlan Project team would tell you the concept is within reach. Today, staging from Roberts Field in Redmond, Oregon, they achieved a landmark goal with the first flight of their glider designed to soar to the edge of space.

Perlan 2 separates from towplane during first flight

The Perlan 2 glider was designed from the lessons learned in their first record-breaking aircraft, the Perlan 1, which reached a record 50,722 feet in September 2012 (piloted by Steve Fossett and Einar Enevoldson). The second ship is constructed from mostly carbon fiber, sports a crew of 2 pilots in a pressurized cockpit, has a wingspan of 84 feet and a gross weight of 1800 lbs. On its eventual record-breaking attempt, the glider will ride air currents above mountains that, in some places, can reach well into the stratosphere. 

Today’s inaugural flight reached an altitude of 5,000 feet – the first step toward their phase 2 goal of 90,000 feet. In addition to scientific instrumentation used for studying aerodynamics, the earths atmosphere, and meteorological research, the team will be utilizing Garmin Pilot, Garmin GDL 39 3D’s, GLO’s as well as VIRB Elite Action Cameras to capture the historic event and efforts leading up to it. The attempt to reach 90,000 feet is currently slated for July 2016. Ultimately, the team has their sights set on 100,000 feet in 2019(phase 3), while capturing data for high altitude flight, climate change and space travel.

The post Airbus Perlan 2 Glider Begins Quest for the Stratosphere appeared first on Garmin Blog.

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