Friday, September 01, 2006

New Altitude Record for a Glider

A new altitude record for a glider was set a couple days ago by Steve Fossett and Einar Enevoldsen. Flying over the Andes mountains in Argentina, the pair made it to an altitude of 50,671 feet in an unpressurized glider called Perlan. They were towed to 13,000 feet and it took about 4 1/2 hours to find currents to achieve the new altitude record. That's above the altitudes for typical commercial airline traffic. I liked Steve's comment, "I couldn’t understand the Chilean controller describing us in Spanish to the airline pilot - but I understood the answer by the pilot: 'Wow'."

They have made several attempts at different locations around the world. You can find out more details and see photos at the Perlan Project web site.

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