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Flight Plans Newsletter

The Perlan: A Record-Setting Sailplane

The Perlan Sailplane in Flight - Powers Unlimited

Steve Fossett - PowersPhotos/Mary Frances Howard

Einar Enevoldson (left) & Steve Fossett (right) - Steve Fossett Challenges

Perlan Glider Landing - Powers Unlimited

The Perlan: A Record-Setting Sailplane

On August 29, 2006, Steve Fossett and Einar Enevoldson flew a modified DG505m glider to a record-setting altitude of 50,727 feet (15,445m) over the Patagonia region of Argentina. By capitalizing on stratospheric "mountain waves" and the Polar Vortex which forms around Antarctica each winter, Fossett and Enevoldson were able beat the previous glider altitude record by over 1,500 feet.

The glider, called the Perlan (Icelandic for "pearl") is now on display at the Museum of Flight. It will serve as the focal point for an exhibit, opening in April, on the science of soaring, the Perlan project and the many personal achievements of its two pilots.

Learn more about the ongoing Perlan Project at: