Market Overview

Airbus Perlan Mission II Soars to Over 62,000 Feet, Setting Second Altitude World Record and Crossing Armstrong Line


Perlan Mission II
, the world's first initiative to pilot an
engineless aircraft to the edge of space, made history again yesterday
in El Calafate, Argentina, by soaring in the stratosphere to a pressure
altitude of over 62,000 feet (60,669 feet GPS altitude). This set a new
gliding altitude world record, pending official validation.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here:

Airbus Perlan Mission II, the world's first initiative to pilot an engineless aircraft to the edge o ...

Airbus Perlan Mission II, the world's first initiative to pilot an engineless aircraft to the edge of space, made aviation history yesterday in El Calafate, Argentina, by soaring in the stratosphere in the experimental Perlan 2 glider to a pressure altitude of over 62,000 feet. (Photo: Business Wire)

The pressurized Perlan 2 glider, which is designed to soar up to 90,000
feet, passed the Armstrong Line, the point in the atmosphere above which
an unprotected human's blood will boil if an aircraft loses

This marks a second glider altitude world record for Jim Payne and
Morgan Sandercock, the same two Perlan Project pilots who soared the
Perlan 2 to 52,221 feet GPS altitude on Sept. 3, 2017, in the same
remote region of Argentine Patagonia. The 2017 record broke a previous
record that was set in 2006, in the unpressurized Perlan 1, by Perlan
Project founder Einar Enevoldson and Steve Fossett.

"This is a tremendous moment for all the volunteers and sponsors of
Airbus Perlan Mission II who have been so dedicated to making our
nonprofit aerospace initiative a reality," said Ed
Warnock, CEO of The Perlan Project
. "Our victory today, and whatever
other milestones we achieve this year, are a testament to a pioneering
spirit of exploration that runs through everyone on the project and
through the organizations that support us."

"Innovation is a buzzword in aerospace today, but Perlan truly embodies
the kind of bold thinking and creativity that are core Airbus values,"
said Tom Enders, Airbus CEO. "Perlan Project is achieving the seemingly
impossible, and our support for this endeavor sends a message to our
employees, suppliers and competitors that we will not settle for being
anything less than extraordinary."

Another first-of-its-kind achievement this year for the Perlan Project
was the use of a special high-altitude tow plane rather than a
conventional glider tow plane. During yesterday's flight, Perlan 2 was
towed to the base of the stratosphere by a Grob Egrett G520 turboprop, a
high- altitude reconnaissance plane that was modified for the task
earlier this summer. Operated by AV Experts, LLC, and flown by chief
pilot Arne Vasenden, the Egrett released Perlan 2 at around 42,000 feet,
the approximate service ceiling of an Airbus A380.

To soar into the highest areas of Earth's atmosphere, Perlan 2 pilots
catch a ride on stratospheric mountain waves, a weather phenomenon
created when rising air currents behind mountain ranges are
significantly strengthened by the polar vortex. The phenomenon occurs
only for a brief period each year in just a few places on earth. Nestled
within the Andes Mountains in Argentina, the area around El Calafate is
one of those rare locations where these rising air currents can reach to
100,000 feet or more.

Built in Oregon and home-based in Minden, Nevada, the Perlan 2 glider
incorporates a number of unique innovations to enable its ambitious

  • A carbon-fiber capsule with a unique high-efficiency, passive cabin
    pressurization system that eliminates the need for heavy, power-hungry
  • A unique closed-loop rebreather system, in which the only oxygen used
    is what the crew metabolizes. It is the lightest and most efficient
    system for a sealed cabin, and its design has applications for other
    high-altitude aircraft.
  • An onboard "wave visualization system" that graphically displays areas
    of rising and sinking air in cockpits. For commercial flights,
    following lines of rising air would allow faster climbs and save fuel,
    while also helping aircraft avoid dangerous phenomena such as wind
    shear and severe downdrafts.

Unlike powered research aircraft, Perlan 2 does not affect the
temperature or chemistry of the air around it, making it an ideal
platform to study the atmosphere. The experiments carried aloft in its
instrument bay are yielding new discoveries related to high-altitude
flight, weather and climate change.

This season, Perlan 2 is flying with experiments developed by The Perlan
Project's science and research committee, as well as projects created in
collaboration with organizations and schools in the U.S. and Argentina.
Perlan 2 research projects currently include:

  • An experiment measuring radiation effects at high altitudes, designed
    by students from Cazenovia Central School & Ashford School in
    Connecticut. This project is in coordination with Teachers
    in Space, Inc.
    , a nonprofit educational organization that
    stimulates student interest in science, technology, engineering and
  • A flight data recorder, developed by Argentina's Instituto de
    Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas para la Defensa (CITEDEF).
  • A second flight data recorder, designed by students at Argentina's La
    Universidad Tecnológica Nacional (UTN).
  • A space weather (radiation) instrument.
  • An experiment titled "Marshmallows in Space," developed by the Oregon
    Museum of Science & Discovery
    to teach the scientific process
    to preschoolers.
  • Two new environmental sensors, developed by The Perlan Project.

The Perlan 2 will continue to pursue higher altitude flights and conduct
research in the stratosphere as weather and winds permit through the
middle of September.

Tune in to live flights of the Perlan 2 on the Airbus Perlan Mission II
Virtual Cockpit at
Stay updated on flight schedules by following The Perlan Project on
Twitter @PerlanProject
and on Facebook at
For more information about Airbus Perlan Mission II, please go to

Want a heads up on the next flight? Sign up by email at
or if In the U.S. text "Perlan" to 57682.

A Press Kit with images, infographic, fact sheet, and videos is
available at:

About Airbus

Airbus is a global leader in aeronautics, space and related services. In
2017 it generated revenues of € 59 billion restated for IFRS 15 and
employed a workforce of around 129,000. Airbus offers the most
comprehensive range of passenger airliners from 100 to more than 600
seats. Airbus is also a European leader providing tanker, combat,
transport and mission aircraft, as well as one of the world's leading
space companies. In helicopters, Airbus provides the most efficient
civil and military rotorcraft solutions worldwide.

About Airbus
Perlan Mission II

Airbus Perlan Mission II is an initiative to fly an engineless glider to
the edge of space, higher than any other winged aircraft has operated in
level, controlled flight, to open up a world of new discoveries related
to high- altitude flight, weather and climate change. This historic
endeavor is the culmination of decades of research and engineering
innovation, and the work of a tireless international team of aviators
and scientists who volunteer their time and expertise for the non-profit Perlan
. The project is supported by Airbus and a group of other
sponsors that includes Dennis Tito, Weather
Extreme Ltd.
, United
and BRS

Perlan's other sponsors:

Dennis Tito
United Technologies
Weather Extreme Ltd.

Equipment, service and institutional donors:

Aero Club Lago Argentino
AGM Container Controls
Air Force Directorate-General of Research and Development
Metal Products
Biomarine Rebreathers
Bonehead Composites
Community Foundation of Western Nevada
DeLorme inReach
Epic Aircraft
Communications Inc.
Leading Edge
Jet Center
LX Nav
MH Aviation Oxygen Systems
Miller Nash
Graham & Dunn
Sandia Aerospace
Valley Community Foundation
Society of America
Sports Aviation Foundation
Trig Avionics
of Washington Applied Physics Laboratory
Whelen Engineering

This and other press releases and high resolution photos are available
on: AirbusNewsroom

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