Two pilots recently set a new altitude world record for gliders.
A glider is an aircraft that does not have an engine. They are pulled into the air by powered airplanes and then released. They are designed to ride warm, rising air to gain altitude.
The Perlan II glider reach an altitude of 15,902 meters on September 3. The two pilots flew their aircraft above mountains in southern Argentina. The pilots beat the earlier world record for gliders by 441 meters.
The pilots hope the ability of their plane to reach the edge of outer space will influence young people to follow careers in science and engineering.
The glider was pulled into the air by a small plane. At about 3,000 meters, the plane released the connecting cable and started looking for strong updrafts of air, called the mountain waves, to take them higher.
According to chief pilot Jim Payne it took eleven flights to reach the altitude record.
Basically, we take steps of certain amount of altitude and airspeed, gather data, analyze that data and if those data conform to our theory and the model we have for the airplane - then we can safely go on to the next step.
A glider flight at high altitude is very difficult. The glider has no engine to fight turbulence they may encounter.
Also, although the airspeed instrument shows the speed of only 80 to 90 kilometers per hour, the true airspeed can be much higher. At those high speeds, the wings may flutter to the point of breaking.
Also, it is very cold said pilot and project manager Morgan Sandercock.
We have electric socks on the pilots, we literally could not fly without those electric socks, we would get frostbite. And heated vests and we're looking at upgrading our heating systems for next year because cold is the big issue that we've been dealing with this year.
The Perlan II glider is made of special kind of light carbon fiber material. It also has improved mechanical properties. The company Airbus helped build the glider and transport it to Argentina.
Ken McKenzie, an employee with Airbus, says the company hopes the project will attract young people to science and technology.
We want to actually grab the next group of pilots, engineers, mechanics, airport operators, flight attendants, basically kids that are in high school and university right now that may not have considered aerospace as a career and we want to inspire them.
In the future, the pilots hope to break the world altitude record for level flight of 25,929 meters, set in 1979 by the U.S. spy plane called the SR-71 Blackbird.
The pilots also plan to turn their aircraft into a non-polluting research vehicle for the stratosphere.
I'm Phil Dierking.
We’re flying at an altitude of 40,000 feet.
Students can be expelled for refusing to conform to school rules.
I nearly got frostbite.
A period of political turbulence followed the civil war.
1.The pilots beat the earlier world record for gliders by 441 meters.
world record 世界纪录
He set a new world record for the marathon.
The achievement he made heads the world record.
2. ... and started looking for strong updrafts of air, called the mountain waves, to take them higher.
look for 寻找，寻求
We never looked for such a surprising result.
He began to look for a new job immediately after he was fired.
所谓滑翔机，就是没有发动机的飞机 。它们由有发动机支持的飞机带入空中，然后在空中释放飞行 。这样做的目的是让他们乘着上升的暖风，不断向上滑翔 。
9月3日，普兰II滑翔机实现了15902米的高度 。这两名飞行员将飞机开往阿根廷南部的群山之上 。这两名飞行员创下的世界纪录比之前多了441米 。
这架滑翔机由一只小型飞机带往天空之中 。在大约3000米的时候，这架飞机松开了导引线，并开始寻找强劲的上升气流——也叫地形波，将之带往更高的地方 。
总体而言，我们会在一定的高度、空速中采取行动，收集数据，分析数据 。如果分析后发现这些数据符合我们的滑翔机的理论模型，条件才足够安全，我们才能进行下一步 。
要让滑翔机在高海拔飞行是十分困难的 。因为滑翔机没有发动机，所以不足以对抗可能遇到的波流不稳的情况 。
此外，虽然空速仪器显示的速度可能仅有80-90km/h，但真实的空速可能更高 。在这样的高空速之下，机翼可能会在不断震动之下断裂 。
我们会让飞行员穿戴电子袜，没有这种袜子就没法飞行，就会生冻疮 。此外，还会穿戴加热背心 。而且我们现在也在研究着升级加热系统，为明年做准备，因为气温低是我们今年一直在与之周旋的大问题 。
普兰II滑翔机是由一种特殊轻碳纤材料制成，此外还提升了其机械性能 。空客公司助力建造了这种滑翔机，并将其运送到了阿根廷 。
Phil Dierking为您播报 。