The Perlan 2 glider caught a stratospheric mountain wave in early September over El Calafate, Argentina.
Perlan 2 caught a stratospheric mountain wave in early September in El Calafate, Argentina, that brought the sailplane to unimaginable heights. Airbus Perlan Mission 2 chief pilot Jim Payne and pilot Tim Gardner broke the glider altitude record when they soared all the way to 76,124 feet, where they could clearly see the darkness of space and the curvature of Earth’s surface.
The idea of bringing gliders to the edge of space by catching stratospheric mountain waves was conceived in the early 1990s by NASA research pilot and U.S. Air Force fighter and test pilot Einar Enevoldson, who is still involved with the Perlan project. Enevoldson flew the first Perlan version with record-setter Steve Fossett above 50,000 feet in 2006, breaking the record for sailplanes at that time.