The Airbus Perlan Mission II glider has broken its 2017 altitude record by soaring to an incredible 65,605 feet.
Project partners contend that the flight achieved over the snow-capped Andes on 28th August 2018, could sure get the aircraft into the record books for hitting the absolute altitude on a glider.
The Fédération aéronautique internationale (FAI) is waiting for the record claim documentation to ratify this performance as a new world record.
To achieve this high altitude flight, the purpose-built, pressurized high-altitude glider also passed the Armstrong Line, the point in the atmosphere at which human blood boils unless protected.
The crew – Jim Payne and Miguel Iturmendi – use a specially designed closed-loop re-breather system, in which the only oxygen used is what the crew metabolizes.
The aircraft’s wings was specifically designed to fly in less than 3% of normal air density, and at temperatures of minus 70 degrees C – conditions similar to that of the surface of Mars.
The Perlan Project’s aim is to build an engineless aircraft that can fly to the edge of space at 90,000 feet, and explore how weather phenomena called ‘stratospheric mountain waves’ impact the ozone hole and change global climate models.
According to the project’s engineers, the surrounding air temperature and chemistry is unaffected by the engineless craft, making it easier to study the atmosphere.
El Calafate in Argentina was the location for the successful flight, reports Airbus. This remote area of Patagonia is ideally placed for such high altitude soaring because the stratospheric mountain waves are particularly strengthened by the polar vortex, a phenomenon which occurs only for a brief period each year.
“This is a tremendous moment for all the volunteers and sponsors of Airbus Perlan Mission II who have been so dedicated to making our nonprofit aerospace initiative a reality. Our victory today, and whatever other milestones we achieve this year, are a testament to a pioneering spirit of exploration that runs through everyone on the project and through the organizations that support us,” said Ed Warnock, Certified Executor Advisor (CEA) of the Project.
Perlan Project/Fédération aéronautique internationale (FAI)