Perlan 2 Flies

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Perlan 2, the pressurized sailplane destined to attempt flights to the edge of space, made its first test hop Wednesday, September 23 at Redmond, Oregon.  It was towed to 5,000 feet above Redmond Municipal Airport, stayed aloft for about a half-hour, and alighted perfectly under the expert guidance of James (“Jim”) Payne, Chief Pilot for the Airbus-sponsored project.  Morgan Sandercock, Co-pilot and Project Manager, rode the back seat and had a turn at the controls. According to post-flight chat, James and Morgan found things to their liking, with everything, including the huge dive brakes, working as designed and as simulations predicted.  A video crew, on hand to capture the event, used a Bell Jet Ranger helicopter to follow Perlan 2 …

NTSB Releases Initial Report, Recommendations on Dreamliner Battery Fires

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

January 2013 was a time of great concern for operators of the Boeing 787 “Dreamliner.” On the 7th, an empty 787 operated by Japan Airlines experienced a fire in the main battery pack.  On the 16th, an All Nippon Airways 787 made an emergency landing and evacuated everyone on board on emergency slides after the flight crew responded to a computer warning of smoke inside one of the electrical compartments.  Other incidents pointed to issues in the use and transport of lithium-ion batteries such as those used in the big Boeing. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has directed several recommendations to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), derived from the agency’s ongoing investigation of the Japan Airlines incident only, at …

Your Black Friday (and All-Year) Giving List

Dean Sigler Diesel Powerplants, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

With merchants beating the drums of commerce to lure you to their stores and web sites for holiday cheer (at least for the merchants), your editor has some alternative giving suggestions that could help bankroll the future of aviation (if not aviation futures).  Each of these projects would welcome funding, and each has much to give back to all of us. Put Your Face in Space The Perlan Project has initiated a fund-raising program on Indie-Go-Go, with the immediate goal to complete construction of the major parts of Perlan II, a high-performance, high-altitude research sailplane recently featured in the New York Times.  Its planned mission to 90,000 feet in the Polar Vortex could give us new and profound understanding of …

Perlan Project Gets Good Press in the New York Times

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Science reporter Matthew Wald visited the Perlan Project in Bend, Oregon recently to see for himself an aircraft that just might conquer the heights – 90,000 feet – in a world-record attempt that will investigate the polar vortex and the ozone hole. His report in the October 21 New York Times highlights the intellectual investment in the project, with extremes of aircraft design reaching toward extreme goals.  Perlan II will fly higher than any powered or unpowered aircraft in a sustained fashion.  Zoom climbs in which American and Russian fighters emulated rocket ships to reach altitude records were more ballistic than controlled.  Those who recall The Right Stuff will remember Chuck Yeager’s frantic and finally unrecoverable tail slide back from …