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 …

Reaching for the Sun

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

SolarStratos, a two-seat, solar-powered airplane, is being readied for record flights in Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland, just a 25-minute drive from the Solar Impulse hangars in Payerne. Its makers claim that it is the first commercial solar two-seater aircraft in history, and will be the first solar-powered airplane with a pilot to enter the stratosphere.  These heady claims are described on the project’s web site as a “crazy bet,” but it’s too early to make such judgments.  Calin Gologan of PC-Aero GmbH designed the base craft, an expansion of his earlier ultralight electric aircraft, Elektra Two.  The “Record” version of this craft, despite SolarStratos’ extended 20-meter (65 feet, 7 inch) wingspan, weighs a feathery 140 kilograms (308 pounds) empty, and only 350 …

Green Flight Challenge Competitors Come Together on Perlan Project

Dean Sigler GFC 1 Comment

The Cafe Foundation’s Green Flight Challenge, scheduled for 2011, has drawn some impressive competitors with its $1.5 million prize.  Two of these, Greg Cole of Windward Performance, who will field a two-seat motorglider, and Einar Enevoldson, leader of the PC-Aero team, which will launch its Elektra One (see “PC-Aero’s Elektra One,” April 11, 2010), are working together quite collegially on a challenge of their own. Before his death in 2007, adventurer Steve Fossett, with co-pilot Enevoldson, had set the sailplane world altitude record in Perlan I, a modified Glaser-Dirks DG-500.  In a continuation of that ambitious adventure, Einar, Greg, and Project Manager Morgan Sandercock are creating Perlan II, a pressurized sailplane that will explore the realm of the nacreous, or …