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Airbus Perlan Mission II Glider Soars Into History
September 24, 2015 – The Perlan 2 glider, the world’s first engineless aircraft designed to reach the edge of space, achieved its successful first flight Wednesday about 5,000 feet above Robert’s Field, the Redmond Municipal Airport in Oregon. This was the first test flight of the aircraft, which next year will attempt to set a world altitude record.
The Perlan 2 glider was developed by The Perlan Project, a volunteer-run, nonprofit endeavor headed by leaders in aerospace and engineering. It is supported by Airbus Group and a group of other sponsors that includes Weather Extreme Ltd., United Technologies and BRS Aerospace.
“We’re extremely excited about the successful first flight of the Perlan 2 glider,” said Ed Warnock, CEO of the Perlan Project. “This marks a major breakthrough in aviation innovation, one that will allow winged exploration of the atmosphere at the edge of space and lead to new discoveries to unravel some of the continuing mysteries of weather, climate change, and ozone depletion.”
Jim Payne and Morgan Sandercock piloted the flight, the first of many for the Airbus Perlan Mission II team. The Perlan 2 is a pressurized sailplane designed to ride air currents that, in certain mountainous regions near the north and south poles, can reach into the stratosphere. Next year’s flights are expected to reach 90,000 feet.