The Perlan 2 hit a height of 52,172 feet in the skies over Patagonia to set a new altitude world record for a glider. This achievement breaks the Perlan 2’s own personal best of 32,500ft and the previous altitude world record, set by the Perlan 1 in 2006, of 50,727ft.
Patagonia is an ideal region for attempting altitude records as it is one of the only places on the planet that sees its stratospheric mountain waves significantly enlarged by the polar vortex. This phenomenon allows gliders such as the Perlan 2 to ride these waves and achieve such impressive altitudes.
Modifications of the aircraft that could allow it to reach even higher heights will start after the end of the gliding season ends in Argentina. The ultimate goal of the Perlan Project will be to hit 90,000ft, a significant improvement from the recent achievement, and a world altitude record for any winged flight.
Ed Warnock, The Perlan Project CEO, commented “We are celebrating an amazing victory for aerospace innovation and scientific discovery today, and we’re so thankful to all the volunteers and sponsors whose years of tireless dedication have made this achievement possible,”
“We will continue to strive for even higher altitudes, and to continue our scientific experiments to explore the mysteries of the stratosphere. We’ve made history, but the learning has just begun.”