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Wed, Jun 27, 2018

First Ever Perlan II Glider Tow With Egrett

'Super Plane' Refurbished And Modified Specifically For The Mission

The Perlan saga continues with a new chapter. The first ever tow by an Egrett which was designed, fabricated and tested by the Perlan Project team and AV Experts. For Argentina, a much more powerful tow plane had been a dream; one hour on tow to 10,000 feet was typical. Then Jim Payne said "What we really need is Einar's Egrett." The Egrett is a very large, very powerful single-seat plane capable of flying relatively slowly.

Founder Einar Enevoldson was the test pilot at the Grob factory in Europe many years ago. He was the test pilot for the G-520 Egrett, a 108 foot wingspan, turboprop, single-engine, 750 horsepower, "super plane".  Through Einar's contacts at Grob he discovered AV Experts had an Egrett available.

Mike Malis (retired aviation engineer, tow pilot and glider pilot) led the charge to find appropriate tow equipment for the Egrett. Mike procured, refurbished, designed and fabricated tow component parts for the Egrett which he installed a few weeks before the actual tow test. Certification was obtained.  Jim talked to Sherman Griffith and they located a traditional glider in Texas which happened to be a Grob 103 like the one in which Jim had soared to 42,000 feet.

Thanks to Dennis Tito, Tim Gardner could fly Dennis' turbo Cessna 206 to Texas with Jim and Mike. They had to cross the Grand Canyon on Memorial Day heading east. Miguel Iturmendi joined them in Texas for the test mission. The ground test included figuring the power setting for taking off with a glider with minimum prop blast.

Tim flew Jay in the 206 as a photo chase while Jim and Miguel flew in the glider behind the Egrett - 10,000 feet altitude in under 10 minutes on tow. The Egrett "never broke a sweat." As for the Perlan team they continue to figure out how to safely do something in aviation, even if it's never been done before. This is an exciting, leading-edge aviation team poised to do amazing things in Argentina - if weather permits.

(Image from the Perlan II Mission blog)

FMI: Video, www.perlanproject.org/blog/first-ever-tow-egrett

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