Above the Blue Horizon

Aerospace dreams are still in reach. . . .

SSA Convention Exhibit Hall * photo by Mark Montague

At the Soaring Society of America Convention in Reno last March, the crown jewel of the dream machines in the exhibit hall was Perlan – a experimental glider built to the edge of space.  I got a chance to see it, even look into the cockpit.

Photo by Mark Montague

This summer Perlan returned to the Andes Mountains in southern Argentina – maybe the only place in the world where the atmospheric conditions are such that the highest of high altitudes can be reached.  Perlan’s cockpit is pressurized.  The ship takes stratospheric tows and then climbs even higher on mountain-generated waves in the atmosphere. On September 2, Perlan shattered every glider altitude record in existence, including its own record from the summer of 2017.  It soared over 76,000′.  That’s higher than the altitude record set by the U-2 spyplane.  The Perlan pilots saw the sky start to turn black and Earth’s distant blue horizon start to look curved.

Read more about Perlan here.   They have a fabulous Website!

 

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