Once the Perlan 2 was back in the air, a goal was to start training back up Perlan pilots. Tim Gardner is an instructor in power and gliders, teaches recovery from unusual attitudes, and has many hours of wave flying. The Perlan 2 is difficult to fly for various reasons - limited visibility, and handling lag being the primary concerns. These are compromises we live with due to pressurization and the wings optimized for 60,000 feet.
The handling lag means that coming in for a landing it is a challenge to line up on centerline of runway. On the ground the long wings offer big challenges, especially in a cross wind. The extremely heavy tail means that the Perlan 2 tracks the intial heading until the pilot can raise the tail. The flight simulator could not fully capture all these challenges. So Tim's many landings and takeoffs in a sweet flying Arcus with steerable tail was actually counter productive to flying the Perlan 2. As a test pilot Jim wanted Tim to fly some of these challenges in our less valuable ASH 25 with long wings and a heavy nonsteerable tail. It was good cross wind practice for Tim.
On a calm morning the team gathered to get some training flights in for Tim. The tow was behind Silvio in SoaringNV Pawnee with Stewart as the wingrunner. These were all familar to Tim. He had practiced with the 300 foot tow rope with the ASH 25. Consistency and familarity help with training. Tim experienced all the challenges and made 3 successful takeoffs and landings. We back taxied down Runway 34 between flights. Morgan and Sandra ran CapComm. Jackie ran her same checklist we have for El Calafate and monitored all ground ops. There was time for a few photos and videos. There were big smiles when Jim shook Tim's hand after the third training flight. There will be a short video on our social media pages soon. Perlan Soars High! Jackie