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Glidin’ High A Minden, Nevada Aviation Company Breaks the Record for Gliders by Climbing to a Height of 76,124 Feet Above Sea Level By Jaq Greenspon Photos by Martin Heltai

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth, And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings


n September 2, 2018, just a few short weeks ago, the Airbus Perlan Mission II aircraft broke a new flight record for gliders. With Jim Payne and Tim Gardner at the controls, the engineless glider climbed to a phenomenal height of 76,124 feet above sea level, or about 23.2 thousand meters (23202.595 to be precise, but what’s 2.595 meters amongst friends?). To put that in context, Mt. Everest is only 8,848 meters high while most commercial jets top out at 10,668 meters. Even the Concorde, which was specifically designed for high altitude flying, never really got higher than 13,716 meters. And yet, here’s a winged aircraft, with no propulsion system of its own, sailing in a sky which, up until now has only been tamed by top secret military planes flown by astronaut rated pilots and bouncing up against the edge of space itself. The questions, when one hears these simple facts, come fast and furious. But understanding the “hows” and “whys” of the Perlan II’s mission, only paints part of the picture. Instead, to fully comprehend the importance of what is being done in the skies above Argentina, as we look

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9/30/18 3:44 PM

Profile for Max Friedland


October 2018


October 2018