Quiet flight celebrated at annual Soaring Expo March 20-21, Steve Fossett record-setting "Perlan Glider" on display
Perlan Glider photoSEATTLE, March 10, 2010--The member clubs of the Seattle Glider Council again present a glimpse into the fascinating world of silent flight at Soaring Expo 2010, held March 20-21 at The Museum of Flight. On special display this year is the "Perlan Glider" that the late aviator/explorer Steve Fossett and test pilot Einar Enevoldson flew over Argentina to set a world altitude record for gliders--50,671 ft.--in 2006. Exhibits include full-size gliders and radio controlled gliders on display. Lectures, movies and presentations are offered all weekend. Representatives of local soaring and RC glider clubs will be on hand to answer questions. Soaring Expo 2010 is open 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. each day, and free with admission to the Museum or Museum membership.
William M. Allen Theater
Saturday, March 20
11 a.m.

"The Development and Flights of the LightHawk," with Danny Howell. Danny Howell will provide an update on the status and performance of the LightHawk sailplane. He will discuss the difficult design challenges and manufacturing advances required to produce a glider capable of exploiting microlift, a very weak atmospheric lift condition, hardly usable for conventional sailplanes. The category of Microlift Glider was adopted for inclusion in the FAI Gliding Sporting Code in October 2004.
2 p.m.
"U.S. Women in Soaring," a presentation with Frauke Elber, one of the founders of the Women Soaring Pilots Association. Elber is a highly skilled sailplane pilot with experience from around the world. She will talk about women in the sport of soaring and contest flying, and how the WSPA has branched out internationally. 
Sunday, March 21
11 a.m.

"How to get out of your aircraft when .... happens," with Master Parachute Rigger, Alan Silver. In his distinctively funny and entertaining way, Silver will demonstrate how to get out of an aircraft when you really have to go. Silver offers an energetic, interactive presentation on all aspects of a bailout including mental attitude, preflight preparation, how to get out of your aircraft, deploying your parachute, and landing safely back on earth. 
2 p.m.
"2061 Kilometers in the Sierra Wave."
In this new film, sailplane pilot Gordon Boettger describes his epic flight soaring in the winds flowing over the Sierra Nevada mountains-accomplishing the longest distance-flight outside of the Andes range in South America. Gordon explains flight planning, the weather evaluation, the equipment preparation, and most important, the tactical in-flight decisions based on reading "wave clouds" at altitudes sometimes exceeding 24,000 feet.
World Record Glider Flight and the Perlan Glider
Wearing NASA spacesuits and flying along the crest of the Andes of Argentina, the aviator/explorer Steve Fossett with co-pilot Einar Enevoldson flew the "Perlan" high performance research glider to a new altitude record 50,671 feet on August 29, 2006. The previous record for gliders was set 20 years earlier in California. The two pilots had been trying to set the record for five years with attempts in New Zealand, the United States and Argentina. The Perlan glider is an extensively modified German-built DG-505 sport glider. This unique sailplane was acquired by the Museum in 2009. It will be on view at Soaring Expo all weekend as an up-close preview before it is put on permanent display with other the important aircraft hanging in the Museum's Great Gallery later in 2010.
Image: "Perlan Glider." Image Credit: Power Unlimited
The non-profit Museum of Flight is one of the largest independent air and space museums in the world. The Museum's collection includes more than 150 historically significant air- and spacecraft, as well as the William E. Boeing Red Barn® -- the original manufacturing facility of the Boeing Co. The J. Elroy McCaw Personal Courage Wing displays 28 World War I and World War II aircraft from the United States and other countries including Germany, Russia, and Japan. Over 30 aircraft representing the first century of aviation are displayed in the all-glass T.A. Wilson Great Gallery. The evolution of space flight and a look into the future are presented in the exhibit, Space: Exploring the New Frontier. The Airpark includes outdoor displays including the first jet Air Force One, a supersonic Concorde airliner and the prototype Boeing 747 jumbo jet. Interactive displays in The Flight Zone provide educational and entertaining activities for young children. The Museum's aeronautical library and archival holdings are the largest on the West Coast. More than 140,000 students are served annually by the Museum's on-site and outreach educational programs--the most extensive museum-based youth aviation and space education program in the country. The Museum is the only air and space museum in Washington State that is both nationally accredited with the American Association of Museums and a Smithsonian affiliate.
The Museum of Flight is located at 9404 E. Marginal Way S., Seattle, Exit 158 off Interstate 5 on Boeing Field half-way between downtown Seattle and Sea-Tac Airport. The Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $15 for adults, $13 for seniors 65 and older, $10 for active military, $8 for youth 5 to 17, and free for children under 5. Group rates are available. Admission on the first Thursday of the month is free from 5 to 9 p.m. courtesy of Wells Fargo. For general Museum information, please call 206-764-5720 or visit www.museumofflight.org
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