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Perlan 2 glider sets altitude record
Pilots Jim Payne (left) and Morgan Sandercock. © Airbus

Perlan 2 glider sets altitude record

The Airbus-sponsored Perlan 2 glider has reached an altitude of 52,172 feet, breaking the record set by Perlan 1 in 2006.

Airbus Perlan Mission II, the world’s first initiative to send a glider to the edge of space, made history on 3rd September in the Patagonia region of Argentina by soaring to over 52,000ft and setting a new world altitude record for gliding.

Chief pilot Jim Payne and co-pilot Morgan Sandercock completed the flight from Comandante Armando Tola International Airport in El Calafate, Argentina, surpassing the previous 50,727ft 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.

Airbus Perlan Mission II is an initiative to fly a glider to the edge of space using weather phenomena called stratospheric mountain waves, rising air currents that are significantly heightened a few times a year in a small number of locations by the polar vortex. 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.

Following the completion of the mountain-wave gliding season in Argentina, Airbus Perlan Mission II will return to Minden, Nevada, where the all-volunteer team will modify and enhance the Perlan 2 glider based on information acquired in this year‘s test flights. Ultimately, the Perlan Project will attempt to reach 90,000ft, a world altitude record for any wing-supported flight, with or without an engine.

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