Latest in Gear

Image credit:

Perlan glider sets altitude record for unpowered flight

And it's not just about bragging rights.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
September 5, 2017
Share
Tweet
Share

Sponsored Links

Perlan Project

Gliders may be inherently limited by their nature (they're dependent on rising air currents), but that isn't stopping them from achieving feats normally reserved for their powered counterparts. The Perlan Project and Airbus have set a new record for engineless flight with Perlan 2, which flew to a lofty 52,172 feet -- well above the 50,727 feet the previous record holder (appropriately, Perlan 1) reached in 2006. The trick was to fly in the right place at the right time.

The team took advantage of the area in El Calafate, located in Argentina's portion of the Andes Mountains. Soar over that area when a polar vortex takes place and you'll encounter stratospheric mountain waves, or air currents that rise so high they reach the stratosphere. These only happen in a couple of places on Earth and only a few times a year, so this isn't something you can expect on a regular basis.

As you might guess, the Perlan Project isn't going to call it a day. It's hoping to modify the glider to fly even higher, and its ultimate goal is to fly a winged aircraft at 90,000 feet whether or not there's an engine involved. And this isn't just for bragging rights, either. Since gliders don't have engines, they're ideal testbeds for studies on climate change, radiation exposure and other fields where you want relatively pristine conditions.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
Tweet
Share

Popular on Engadget

Samsung's newest watches can now take ECG readings in the US

Samsung's newest watches can now take ECG readings in the US

View
NVIDIA apologizes for RTX 3090 pre-orders before they even begin

NVIDIA apologizes for RTX 3090 pre-orders before they even begin

View
Microsoft is releasing a non-subscription Office suite in 2021

Microsoft is releasing a non-subscription Office suite in 2021

View
Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite leaks ahead of tomorrow's hardware event

Amazon Fire TV Stick Lite leaks ahead of tomorrow's hardware event

View
'Among Us' developers cancel sequel plans, focus on their new/old smash hit

'Among Us' developers cancel sequel plans, focus on their new/old smash hit

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr