On November 4, 2017 the Pacific Soaring Council (PASCO) hosted it's 50th anniversary seminar and dinner. This was at the Sequoia Yacht Club just south of San Francisco. Perlan Project was represented by Jim and Jackie Payne as the banquet speakers.
Since it was an hour presentation, we divided our time into three parts. Otherwise folks eyes tend to glaze over unless they are uber interested in the details. Jim talked about the history of Perlan Project, then Jackie spoke about the logistics of a campaign in Argentina and the beauty of Patagonia. Jim then spoke about the high altitude flight on September 3 from El Calafate, Argentina. Note on the barogram slide how flat the climb rate is around 35,000 feet. One question which is frequently asked is "Could you have gone higher?" Jim and Morgan's answer has always been -- we set our limits based on a balance of accomplishment and safety. They had determined that they should start descent when the battery hit 35% remaining capacity. This flight used the battery heavily from 35,000 to 50,000 feet with a stop every 5,000 feet for flutter excitation and real time analysis. (All was as expected with no surprises. So the next flutter excitation will be at 55,000 feet.) But with that protracted battery useage, the battery remaining as they crossed into record terrritory on September 3 was 36% remaining. Weather Extreme created the graphic of the side view of the atmosphere at the time of the high point with a dot representing the altitude and position of Perlan 2. Note how weak the lift rate is on the graphic from 30-40,000 feet. So higher altitudes are a real possibility when the mountain wave and the polar vortex work together.
The next day November 5, 2017 the Perlan Project held a Board meeting across the bay at Oakland. Most of the Board was able to attend in person, including the founder Einar Enevoldsen. Through technology, three other team members logged in from Argentina or the East Coast of USA. The Board prioritized possible upgrades or improvements to Perlan 2. They also made plans for the future of the Perlan Project. It is great to have a high altitude flight under our belts, but time to plan for the next flights to 75,000 or 90,000 feet in 2018. Perlan Soars High! Jackie