On September 21, 2016, Airbus Perlan Mission II hosted a media day in El Calafate, Argentina. We also hosted a "Battle of the Forecasts" for weather. But Jim Payne and Tim Gardner decided to take a tow to see what lift they could find. And it proved the right choice!
After the Spanish/English morning briefing we prepped the glider. Cholo towed the Perlan 2 to Cerro Buenos Aires near the Perito Moreno glacier. Roberto piloted the helicopter in close trail for more photo ops. They released in weak lift which was all the weather could produce. But they managed 5 hours in 1-2 knot lift for a proper cold soak test. -30 C was the coldest Outside Air Temperature but inside the cabin was still -1 C. Those Kilo Yankee Papa insulated flight suits also help keep the pilots very warm. Tim got some fabulous photos over Lago Argentino and the glacier before the windows on the shadowed side frosted over. The portable defroster works great. Tim also took a rear cockpit photo showing how the tail camera display helps maintain situational awareness.
I took a photo of Loris Gliner's Virtual Cockpit software running near real time off Perlan's telemetry data. We have only had beta testing up to now. Please remember that we are extremely challenged with bandwidth and connectivity. Our first priority is in-flight flutter vibration testing data. We can't transmit both types of data at the same time. So occasionally we go off line to do other tasks. Nonetheless it is fun to see where the Perlan 2 is flying, with what lift, and what altitude, usually less than 30 seconds delayed. The link is perlanproject.cloud/virtualcockpit.html
Perlan Se Eleva!