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Perlan II Mission Wraps Up 4th Season

Glider Is On Its Way Back To The Project’s Home In Minden, Nv

Airbus Perlan Mission II has wrapped up its Season 4 flights in Argentina, and the team members have returned to homes across America and the world. The Perlan 2 glider is on its way back to the project’s home in Minden, Nevada.

The team is celebrating Season 4 as a great success, having achieved incredible results on each of their key mission objectives:  Innovation, Exploration and Inspiration.

While a rare stratospheric weather phenomenon kept the glider from reaching world-record altitudes this year, Airbus Perlan Mission II’s pilots nonetheless completed seven stratospheric flights, reaching 65,000 feet on Sept. 17 – the third highest glider flight in history. Perlan 2 has firmly established itself as an international asset for the global aerospace and meteorological research communities, able to obtain first-of-its-kind data on high altitude aerodynamics, extreme weather and our earth’s climate.  

Among the Airbus Perlan Mission II’s achievements this season are:

INNOVATION:

  • High-altitude aeronautical innovation, including extensive stratospheric flight tests that mapped the performance curves of the Perlan 2, obtaining greater knowledge about high-altitude wing-borne flight
  • Improved aircraft systems performance and reliability.
  • Refined aerotow technology and techniques, accomplishing the highest aerotows in history.

EXPLORATION:

  • Gathering data in the stratosphere to help scientists better understand how stratospheric waves influence the planet’s weather, climate and flight safety.
  • Data collected on the very rare “sudden stratospheric warming” (SSW) event as it disrupted the Polar Vortex. The last strong SSW in the southern hemisphere was in 2002.  This year’s SSW was the strongest ever recorded.
  • Launched 29 weather balloons into the downwind wave fields.

INSPIRATION:

  • Inspiration of the next generation of engineers, explorers and innovators, including team leaders’ presentations to many universities and the War College in Buenos Aires.
  • including team members speaking with multiple schools, and donated supplies to a local El Calafate school.

The Airbus Perlan Mission II is an initiative to fly an engineless glider to the edge of space, higher than any other winged aircraft has operated in level, controlled flight, to open up a world of new discoveries related to high-altitude flight, weather and climate change.

(Images provided with Airbus Perlan Mission II news release)

FMI: perlanproject.org

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