Meet the Team

Only once or twice in a lifetime a chance comes along to be involved in something important and historic.  The Perlan Project is one of those opportunities. A team of talented and dedicated people have come together to fly higher on wings than anyone has achieved before and to make a significant contribution to our understanding of the weather on our planet.

The Perlan team is made up of scientists, educators, engineers, administrators, designers and pilots who have been working together for years to design and build a one of a kind pressurized glider to explore the edge of space. They have backgrounds from NASA, the Air Force, major Universities and corporations.  Between the team members they hold dozens of aviation records, credit for academic papers, design awards and educational awards.  The team is from all over the world - the United States, Argentina, Spain, Australia, Germany, France and Canada.

Perlan Team II  •  Argentina Team 2018  •  Argentina Team 2017  •  Argentina Team 2016 

Perlan II Team

Founder and Chairman of the Board

Einar, a lifelong glider pilot, former jet fighter pilot in the USAF, and exchange officer with the Royal Air Force attended the Empire Test Pilot...

CEO

Ed has a BS in Aerospace Engineering (Honors and high Distinction) from the University of Arizona and an MA in Systems Theory. When he was working...

Chief Pilot

Jim Payne started soaring at the Air Force Academy in 1971. At the Academy he made his first wave flight and was immediately hooked. His paper...

Pilot | Project Manager

Morgan Sandercock is a glider pilot from Australia. Morgan is the Chief Flying Instructor at the Hunter Valley Gliding Club.

Morgan works...

Pilot | Flight Test Engineer

Miguel A. Iturmendi is a native Spaniard, but has called Florida home for the last 20 years. Miguel holds degrees in Aeronautical Science, Space...

Pilot | Simulator Programmer | Board Member

Tim Gardner joined the Perlan project after meeting Miguel Iturmendi at the Minden Wave camp in 2013.
He works full time for Hitachi Data...

Chief of Logistics and Ground Operations

Past Chairman of SSA's Badge and Record Committee
Author of Badge and Record book for soaring pilots-5 editions
...

Logistics Coordinator, Argentina

Espartago (Tago) De Pietro, an American who grew up in Mendoza, Argentina, was in charge of coordinating the operations and logistics for the...

Member - Ground Crew

Stewart began living near Lake Tahoe 25 years ago and has been flying since 2000. He has been watching the weather since he was young as a skier...

Composite Expert

Team Member - Software Engineer

Tom Payne is an electrical engineer and serial entrepreneur who now utilizes his expertise and success to support new ventures as an investor and...

Board Member

Doug is a retired United States Air Force Lt. Colonel living in north central California, after more than twenty-six years of both active and...

Team Member | Major Sponsor

Dennis earned a B.S. in astronautics and aeronautics from NYU College of Engineering, and a M.S. and honorary doctorate of engineering from...

Board Member

Stéphane has 25 years of experience in the aerospace and computer industries. He began his career as an engineer for Aerojet-Electrosystems, now...

Maintenance Inspector

Gabe is an A&P mechanic with Inspection Authorization  (IA).  He is also an Airline Transport Pilot with commercial privileges for airplane...

Silvio Ricardi

Tow Plane Pilot - Minden

Silvio F Ricardi grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina, with dreams of being a crop duster. In 1989, he moved with his family to Melbourne,...

Chief Meteorologist

Dr. Elizabeth Austin, the articulate and dynamic President of WeatherExtreme Ltd, is...

Team Member

JDM is a Principal Scientist with Intel Corporation, where he currently leads a global team of data scientists in information technology...

Instumentation | Scientific Research

Michael joined the Perlan Project in the fall of 2009 after reading an article in Soaring which called for volunteers to participate. His...

Corporate Counsel

Team Member

A test pilot for the US Air Force at Edwards Air Force Base, California, Roger is a member of the Test Pilot School (TPS) and part of the F-16...

Life Support Systems Consultant

Patrick McLaughlin is the inventor and developer of the EDS oxygen pulse delivery system and founder of Mountain High Aviation Oxygen Systems...

Team Member

An electrical engineer, Eric worked for Battelle Memorial Institute on the Hanford Project, where they operate Pacific Northwest National...

Historian

Dean has 34 years’ experience as a technical writer working for electronics and engineering firms.  He documented systems and processes for “...

Argentina Liason

Sandra has a degree in Systems Analysis from the University of Instituto Técnologico Buenos Aires (ITBA). She has worked for the Argentine Air...

Team Member

Osvaldo is a lawyer, glider pilot and flight instructor living in Argentina. He is a world record holder in the Speed Triangle Course of 100K...

Assistant

Reba Coombs retired from Nevada state government after 25 years employed in all three branches of government primarily as an executive assistant...

Flight Test Engineer

Testing since 1984, Al is a multi-engine commercial instrument pilot, glider and motorglider pilot, Piper Cherokee owner, and Flight Analyst DER...

Flight Test Engineer

Lars Bensch soloed in gliders when turning 14 years old and likes flying all kinds of light aircrafts. He is a private pilot flight instructor...

Aviation Engineer and Tow Pilot

Mike is an active commercial glider and tow pilot with over 2000 hrs and 35 years experience. Mike recently retired form Lockheed Martin as a...

Tow Pilot - Argentina

BORN February 25, 1937 in General Roca province of Rio Negro Argentina. Cholo was selected tow pilot of the year in Argentina in 2017. He set a...

ARGENTINA TEAM 2018

Founder and Chairman of the Board

Einar, a lifelong glider pilot, former jet fighter pilot in the USAF, and exchange officer with the Royal Air Force attended the Empire Test Pilot...

CEO

Ed has a BS in Aerospace Engineering (Honors and high Distinction) from the University of Arizona and an MA in Systems Theory. When he was working...

Chief Pilot

Jim Payne started soaring at the Air Force Academy in 1971. At the Academy he made his first wave flight and was immediately hooked. His paper...

Pilot | Project Manager

Morgan Sandercock is a glider pilot from Australia. Morgan is the Chief Flying Instructor at the Hunter Valley Gliding Club.

Morgan works...

Pilot | Flight Test Engineer

Miguel A. Iturmendi is a native Spaniard, but has called Florida home for the last 20 years. Miguel holds degrees in Aeronautical Science, Space...

Pilot | Simulator Programmer | Board Member

Tim Gardner joined the Perlan project after meeting Miguel Iturmendi at the Minden Wave camp in 2013.
He works full time for Hitachi Data...

Chief of Logistics and Ground Operations

Past Chairman of SSA's Badge and Record Committee
Author of Badge and Record book for soaring pilots-5 editions
...

Logistics Coordinator, Argentina

Espartago (Tago) De Pietro, an American who grew up in Mendoza, Argentina, was in charge of coordinating the operations and logistics for the...

Member - Ground Crew

Stewart began living near Lake Tahoe 25 years ago and has been flying since 2000. He has been watching the weather since he was young as a skier...

Instumentation | Scientific Research

Michael joined the Perlan Project in the fall of 2009 after reading an article in Soaring which called for volunteers to participate. His...

Argentina Liason

Sandra has a degree in Systems Analysis from the University of Instituto Técnologico Buenos Aires (ITBA). She has worked for the Argentine Air...

Science and Meteorology

Elizabeth T learned to fly at Minden airport in 2002. She is a commercial pilot in single engine, and a glider instructor. She is also a...

Virtual Cockpit Science

Loris Gliner is an Aeronautical Engineering Student at Imperial College London. He became involved with the Perlan Project by developing the...

Flight Test Engineer

Lars Bensch soloed in gliders when turning 14 years old and likes flying all kinds of light aircrafts. He is a private pilot flight instructor...

Science CubeSats

Alec Guay is a 23 year old mechanical engineer and glider pilot from Massachusetts. Alec designed and fabricated the new composite CubeSat rack...

Medical Doctor and Photographer

Dr. Dan’s life story

He’s lived mostly within 100 miles of the Twin Cities, half in Minnesota and half in Wisconsin, which has...

Weatherman

Walt, otherwise known by his soaring contest ID of “WX”, is a retired forecaster from the National Weather Service with over 42 years of...

Aviation Engineer and Tow Pilot

Mike is an active commercial glider and tow pilot with over 2000 hrs and 35 years experience. Mike recently retired form Lockheed Martin as a...

Weatherman and Tow Pilot

Dan Gudgel has been around aviation his entire life in varying capacities in aerial application, flight instruction, air charter, and a glider...

Purser

Linda brings a wealth of international experience to the Perlan Project. After earning a BA in Spanish, Linda worked abroad for 7 years with an...

Argentina Team 2017

CEO

Ed has a BS in Aerospace Engineering (Honors and high Distinction) from the University of Arizona and an MA in Systems Theory. When he was working...

Chief Pilot

Jim Payne started soaring at the Air Force Academy in 1971. At the Academy he made his first wave flight and was immediately hooked. His paper...

Pilot | Project Manager

Morgan Sandercock is a glider pilot from Australia. Morgan is the Chief Flying Instructor at the Hunter Valley Gliding Club.

Morgan works...

Pilot | Flight Test Engineer

Miguel A. Iturmendi is a native Spaniard, but has called Florida home for the last 20 years. Miguel holds degrees in Aeronautical Science, Space...

Pilot | Simulator Programmer | Board Member

Tim Gardner joined the Perlan project after meeting Miguel Iturmendi at the Minden Wave camp in 2013.
He works full time for Hitachi Data...

Chief of Logistics and Ground Operations

Past Chairman of SSA's Badge and Record Committee
Author of Badge and Record book for soaring pilots-5 editions
...

Logistics Coordinator, Argentina

Espartago (Tago) De Pietro, an American who grew up in Mendoza, Argentina, was in charge of coordinating the operations and logistics for the...

Member - Ground Crew

Stewart began living near Lake Tahoe 25 years ago and has been flying since 2000. He has been watching the weather since he was young as a skier...

Argentina Liason

Sandra has a degree in Systems Analysis from the University of Instituto Técnologico Buenos Aires (ITBA). She has worked for the Argentine Air...

Flight Test Engineer

Testing since 1984, Al is a multi-engine commercial instrument pilot, glider and motorglider pilot, Piper Cherokee owner, and Flight Analyst DER...

Science and Meteorology

Elizabeth T learned to fly at Minden airport in 2002. She is a commercial pilot in single engine, and a glider instructor. She is also a...

Virtual Cockpit Science

Loris Gliner is an Aeronautical Engineering Student at Imperial College London. He became involved with the Perlan Project by developing the...

Flight Test Engineer

Lars Bensch soloed in gliders when turning 14 years old and likes flying all kinds of light aircrafts. He is a private pilot flight instructor...

Science CubeSats

Alec Guay is a 23 year old mechanical engineer and glider pilot from Massachusetts. Alec designed and fabricated the new composite CubeSat rack...

Tow Pilot - Argentina

BORN February 25, 1937 in General Roca province of Rio Negro Argentina. Cholo was selected tow pilot of the year in Argentina in 2017. He set a...

Purser

Linda brings a wealth of international experience to the Perlan Project. After earning a BA in Spanish, Linda worked abroad for 7 years with an...

Argentina Team 2016

CEO

Ed has a BS in Aerospace Engineering (Honors and high Distinction) from the University of Arizona and an MA in Systems Theory. When he was working...

Chief Pilot

Jim Payne started soaring at the Air Force Academy in 1971. At the Academy he made his first wave flight and was immediately hooked. His paper...

Pilot | Project Manager

Morgan Sandercock is a glider pilot from Australia. Morgan is the Chief Flying Instructor at the Hunter Valley Gliding Club.

Morgan works...

Pilot | Flight Test Engineer

Miguel A. Iturmendi is a native Spaniard, but has called Florida home for the last 20 years. Miguel holds degrees in Aeronautical Science, Space...

Pilot | Simulator Programmer | Board Member

Tim Gardner joined the Perlan project after meeting Miguel Iturmendi at the Minden Wave camp in 2013.
He works full time for Hitachi Data...

Chief of Logistics and Ground Operations

Past Chairman of SSA's Badge and Record Committee
Author of Badge and Record book for soaring pilots-5 editions
...

Logistics Coordinator, Argentina

Espartago (Tago) De Pietro, an American who grew up in Mendoza, Argentina, was in charge of coordinating the operations and logistics for the...

Board Member

Doug is a retired United States Air Force Lt. Colonel living in north central California, after more than twenty-six years of both active and...

Jim Kuhl was a 6th grade Earth Science teacher from Syracuse, NY when he applied for the original NASA Teacher in Space program in 1985 and was...

Science CubeSats

Alec Guay is a 23 year old mechanical engineer and glider pilot from Massachusetts. Alec designed and fabricated the new composite CubeSat rack...

Tow Pilot - Argentina

BORN February 25, 1937 in General Roca province of Rio Negro Argentina. Cholo was selected tow pilot of the year in Argentina in 2017. He set a...

Purser

Linda brings a wealth of international experience to the Perlan Project. After earning a BA in Spanish, Linda worked abroad for 7 years with an...