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Experiences with the Perlan 2 Team

  • Jan 22, 2018
  • 4:00 p.m.
  • 260 New Classroom Building
  • Al Lawless, Flight Test Engineer
  • Faculty Host: Dr. Pat Artis


Abstract: Experiences with the Perlan 2 team will be discussed as they overcame numerous hurdles on the way to setting a new world record for glider altitude. Deploying all the way to southern Argentina, this incredibly small team designed and built the worlds first pressurized glider and exceeded 52,000 feet on the aircraft's 38th flight. Discussions will frame the Perlan Mission, the Perlan 1 and 2 aircraft, flight test challenges, and special hazards associated with the ultimate goal of reaching 90,000 ft.

Bio: Testing since 1984, Al is a multi-engine commercial instrument pilot, glider and motorglider pilot, Piper Cherokee owner, and Flight Analyst DER. He’s been steadily active in the Society of Flight Test Engineers (SFTE) since 1987, serving as Antelope Valley Chapter Vice President & President, as Director, and as Technical Council Chairman since 2004. His background emphasized performance and flying qualities, first as a flying USAF FTE working HH-60, B-52 F-16, and Agility Research. He was subsequently an instructor and Chief of Academics at the National Test Pilot School, Lead FTE on the Cessna Sovereign, Head of Flight Test for Grob Aerospace in Germany, and Chief FTE for Honda Aircraft. Broad contributions include developing an aircraft based winds (ABW) measurement method, defining aircraft agility metrics, developing GPS-based “Wind box” and “Orbis” pitot-static calibration methods, initiating & guiding the SFTE Reference Handbook and writing/editing several NTPS textbooks. SFTE presented Al the Directors Award in 2000, elected him Fellow in 2009, and honored him with the Kelly Johnson Award in 2015.