On July 18, 2017 Airbus Perlan Mission II took to the skies over Patagonia. Jim Payne and Tim Gardner in Perlan 2 made a short check flight with no expectation to try for altitude. There are so many integral components to a successful high altutude wave flight. All must be tested prior to the big day. All personnel must be ready, weather balloon launched early, glider serviced with full battery, oxygen, and air, the tow plane functioning, telemetry set up, weather analyzed, coordination with the tower briefed, cockpits loaded, camera displays on, look at the skies, pressurization checks 100 percent, and finally radio comms with tower maintained prior to tow out.
Since we only needed a short window to fly and the weather looked unsettled for next few days, it was time to make the first functional check flight. Jim and Tim strapped in and towed to Runway 7. There were many internet challenges on Tuesday; going to runway 7 drops below line of sight from hangar for telemetry. The short informational messages (Twitter @PerlanLive) were showing on both computer monitors and smart phones. But that is still in beta testing mode. See http://perlanproject.cloud/VirtualCockpit.html for future flights. Jackie had a cold and stayed back in the cabins in self-quarantine. But she could monitor Perlan's Internet "footprint" without taking bandwidth from the hangar. We found a few things which could be improved. But that's what non-flying days are all about.
The flight was under overcast skies for .7 hours. The photos are from a combination of sources, Martin Heltai took many of the ground shots, Tago took the launch photos, Morgan snagged the tail camera shots, and Tim Gardner shared his from the air perspective. Thanks to all who shared.
Perlan Se Eleva!