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News Link • Transportation: Air Travel

Perlan 2 glider reaches highest altitude yet

• by David Szondy

With test pilots Jim Payne, Morgan Sandercock, Tim Gardner, and Miguel Iturmendi aboard, the two-person pressurized sailplane made a series of free flights over El Calafate, Argentina, where it reached a maximum altitude of 32,500 ft (9,900 m).

The Perlan 2 is an engineless glider designed to break the previous high-altitude record of 50,727 ft (15,416 m) set in 2006 by Einar Enevoldsen and Steve Fossett in Perlan 1. The eventual goal is to be the first engineless fixed-wing aircraft to reach the edge of space at 62 mi (100 km).

To achieve these goals, Perlan 2 has an ultralight construction of only 1,100 lb (500 kg) when empty and a wingspan of 84 ft (27 m) as well as an oxygen breathing system and an emergency recovery parachute. After making initial test flights over Oregon and Nevada, the project moved to Argentina in 2016

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