David Kray, Dr. Dan Johnson
 
Our speaker today was Dr. Dan Johnson.  Though his topic was “The Perlan Project” he gave us a wonderful history of gliders and their aerodynamic structure, wind currents and of course, Perlan Clouds!
 
 
For starters he defined the Airbus Perlan glider as a high-tech space capsule with aerodynamic wings and winglets.  He compared other gliders and their wing structure.  This Perlan Glider is designed to break the record on altitude. 
 
Perlan means “mother of pearl” and Perlan clouds are clouds that are high in nitric acid and enable gliders to get extra lift due to their unique properties. 
 
Just how high are we looking at?  The Perlan is trying to reach 90,000 feet above the ground.  The best place to do this is in South America over the Andes due to the wind currents and its proximity to an international airport. 
 
As a history of flight, the Wright Brothers in 1903 flew 10 feet.  Last year the Perlan reached 76,000 feet with the goal of 90,000 being tried this September.
 
Dr. Johnson had a fascinating talk about the “lift” factors due to weather and atmospheric conditions at certain altitudes.  The science of aviation and what these high altitudes can do to humans was discussed in detail.
 
Loren Swanson Meeting Video
 
More Information:
Magazine articlestinyurl.com/Perlan-pieces
Speaker information - Dr. Dan Johnson, johnsondanl@gmx.com