Perlan’s blog collects the thoughts and experiences of team members from the multiple disciplines needed to build and prepare the aircraft, plan the flight, and carry out the mission. Here, you’ll find insights from the designers, craftspeople, pilots, meteorologists, and support personnel who will make Perlan’s record ascents a reality. Perlan’s blog will be an opportunity to delve into the challenges and triumphs that travel with the giant sailplane.

Bonding First Plug

The first fuselage plug is now all bonded (glued) together. The first two blocks of foam were levelled to within a hundredth of an inch – less than the thickness of a piece of paper. This makes a perfectly flat foundation for the other blocks. This is also the centreline of the fuselage so getting this line straight is necessary so that the other parts of the aircraft will fit and it will fly straight.

The other blocks were then aligned onto the first pair, using alignment rods and careful measuring before the epoxy resin was poured.

Flight Computer Hardware

We may have found the perfect screen display to use in the Perlan glider. The Craggy Aero “Ultimate” computer is an exciting new development in soaring instruments.

The main advantage of this computer is the large sunlight-readable screen. We tested it outdoors in full sunshine against a conventional PDA. The Ultimate is the clear winner for readability, even though the PDA had a new “transreflective” screen.

Progress on first fuselage plug

The first fuselage plug has been completely machined. Einar has come up to Bend to view the progress.

The next step is to sand the plug by hand to remove the tool grooves and then it can be sealed with paint and the molding process begins.

Review: Exploring The Monster

While the Perlan Project has been hard at work during March, there isn’t much visible progress we can share on the blog. However, one item of research was reading Exploring the Monster by Robert F. Whelan.

Exploring the Monster, Mountain Lee Waves: the Aerial Elevator tells the story of wave soaring from its initial discovery in Germany in 1933 to the Sierra Project of 1951-52 and the Jet Stream Project of 1955. Amazingly, some of the people who flew those earliest wave flights are still alive and living in California.