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Manufacturing Minute: Airbus’ Glider Aims To Reach New Heights

In this episode, how a new engineless aircraft could reach the edge of space.

In this episode, how a new engineless aircraft could reach the edge of space.

Glider technology has been around since the 1930s when pilots learned they could utilize wave lifts or currents created by wind passing over a mountain range. Now the Perlan Project, sponsored by Airbus, has built the Perlan 2 — a 1,800-pound, 84-foot-wide glider that could reach 90,000 feet by simply surfing rising air currents.

At this altitude, Perlan 2 will be able to fly at more than 400 mph.

The glider completed its first flight successfully last week, paving the way for the aircraft to reach its ultimate goal of being better able to study how giant stratospheric mountain waves impact Earth’s weather.


Could this engineless glider really reach the edge of space? Will this technology broach a new era of aeronautical exploration?

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