Las Vegas Sun

September 21, 2018

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Pilots fly glider to new heights in Argentina above Andes

Updated Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018 | 11:51 a.m.

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Pilots from a Nevada glider team have flown to new heights above the Andes Mountains in Argentina using only wind as their engine.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports an experimental sailplane built by a Perlan Project team set an unofficial world altitude record for engineless flight on Sunday, then broke that record by more than a half-mile (0.8 kilometers) two days later.

Pilots Jim Payne and Miguel Iturmendi flew the Perlan 2 aircraft to 63,776 feet (19,439 meters) on Tuesday, 3,107 feet (947 meters) higher than Sunday's flight by Payne and Morgan Sandercock.

That's about 3 miles (5 kilometers) above the highest altitude used by commercial flights.

Payne says "the sky is starting to get dark" at that altitude and the curve of the Earth is visible.

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Information from: Las Vegas Review-Journal, http://www.lvrj.com