Perlan 2 Glider Breaks Altitude Record

The Perlan 2 glider caught the mountain waves of the Patagonia mountain range to break the high altitude record. Perlan Mission II

The Perlan 2 high altitude glider has achieved another altitude record over the high peaks in the southern part of the Patagonia mountain range. After being pulled to an altitude of 42,000 feet, the Perlan 2 continued to climb past 62,000 feet. This altitude is beyond the Armstrong Line, which defines the point beyond which the blood in a human body would boil unless protected by some form of pressurization.

Perlan Mission II’s chief pilot Jim Payne, and pilot and project manager Morgan Sandercock shattered the previous record, set by the same pilots about one year ago in the same region of Argentina. At that time, Payne and Sandercock flew to 52,221 feet.

The team recently started using a tow plane capable of bringing them to much higher altitudes than previously possible. In fact, the Grob Egrett G520 turboprop the team uses broke a record in its own right last week as it brought the Perlan 2 beyond 44,000 feet. For this week's flight, the Egrett, flown by Arne Vasenden, the chief pilot of AV Experts, released the Perlan 2 at around 42,000 feet.

It is possible that more records will be broken by the Perlan 2 in the next few weeks. The team is staying in Argentina until mid-September. At times, the lifting forces created by the Patagonian mountain waves can reach 100,000 feet. The Perlan Mission II team says the glider is designed to fly as high as 90,000 feet.

Perlan 2's flights can be viewed live here through the Perlan Virtual Cockpit.

Pia Bergqvist joined FLYING in December 2010. A passionate aviator, Pia started flying in 1999 and quickly obtained her single- and multi-engine commercial, instrument and instructor ratings. After a decade of working in general aviation, Pia has accumulated almost 3,000 hours of flight time in nearly 40 different types of aircraft.

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