Pi­lots fly glider to new heights in Ar­gentina above An­des

Manteca Bulletin - - Nation -

LAS VE­GAS (AP) — Pi­lots with a Ne­vada glider team have flown to new heights above the An­des Moun­tains in Ar­gentina us­ing only wind as their en­gine.

An ex­per­i­men­tal sailplane built by a Per­lan Pro­ject team set an un­of­fi­cial world al­ti­tude record for en­gine­less flight on Sun­day, then broke that record by more than a half-mile (0.8 kilo­me­ters) two days later, the Las Ve­gas Re­view-Jour­nal re­ported .

Pi­lots Jim Payne and Miguel Itur­mendi flew the Per­lan 2 air­craft to 63,776 feet (19,439 me­ters) on Tues­day, 3,107 feet (947 me­ters) higher than Sun­day’s flight by Payne and Mor­gan San­der­cock.

That’s about 3 miles (5 kilo­me­ters) above the high­est al­ti­tude used by com­mer­cial flights.

At that al­ti­tude, “the sky is start­ing to get dark” and you can see the curve of the Earth, Payne said. “You get some beau­ti­ful vis­tas from up there.”

Payne and San­der­cock also own the cur­rent of­fi­cial record of 52,221 feet (15,917 me­ters), which they reached in Per­lan 2 above the An­des on Sept. 3, 2017.

It took about two-and-ahalf hours for the glider to reach its record-set­ting al­ti­tude.

Payne said Per­lan 2 can climb more quickly than that, but th­ese are test flights so they are as­cend­ing in stages to de­ter­mine how the air­craft

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