Talk about smashing a record - 76,100 foot altitude

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Some experimental airplanes have reached this high but here, we are talking about an unpowered glider. From NBC News:

Experimental glider smashes record for high-altitude flight
Riding the wind above the Andes Mountains, an experimental glider has set a world record for high-altitude flight.

On Sept. 2, the sleek Perlan 2 glider carried two pilots to 76,100 feet, or more than 14 miles, over the El Calafate region in southern Argentina. That’s the highest altitude ever reached by humans aboard an unpowered fixed-wing aircraft, and one of the highest altitudes reached by an aircraft of any description. Only spy planes and specialized balloons have flown higher.

“The biggest impression is, it's a long ways down from up here,” one of the pilots, Jim Payne, said after the record-setting flight, which was one in a series of test flights sponsored by aerospace giant Airbus. “The horizon starts to have a curvature in it and the sky is getting darker as we climb. … It's a fantastic experience, once in a lifetime.”

The record eclipses one set during a previous Perlan 2 flight over El Calafate on Aug. 28, which reached an altitude of 65,600 feet.

But the recent outing, which took about five hours, wasn’t just about establishing bragging rights. Ed Warnock, the aerospace engineer who heads the Perlan Project, a Beaverton, Oregon-based nonprofit that designed and built the $3 million glider, said data collected by the glider would help provide a better understanding of high-altitude air currents. That could help commercial pilots avoid dangerous but invisible regions of turbulence.

Very cool - here is the website for The Perlan Project They are going to try for 90,000 in a few days and then, new wings and 100,000.

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