Transcript for Meet the man attempting to break the world gliding altitude record
Gliding to the edge of space hello everyone I'm David curly from ABC news and today one in addition to a project that's going on called Irwin. In association with the Airbus one of the biggest manufacturers of aircraft in the world. And joining us to talk about this pretty exciting project is the pilot Jim an engine thanks very much for joining us we're looking at pictures and here is your little lighter. That actually can go to the altitudes. That it latter's never gone to before pressurized. How IV gone so far. The power two 30000. Glider. But you think you lingo. 23 times and I. It designed to go to 9000 feet. And most of mr. supports it should and yet there. So I know you're a long time glider pilot. This is a very uninteresting project why why do we want to glide to 90000 feet. What are we trying to Lawler. There are trying to learn about the atmosphere. In sell planes were able to climb to high altitude because of the phenomenon called mountain way. And so far in the Huntley has been explored almost 51000 feet which is the current altitude record. We like to export higher as we go higher we'll learn certain things about the atmosphere in our view. Hope to set the world record but there is a lot of signs here and as we watch the proven here taking off. I'd I'd want to talk about that science but let's talk a little bit about what you just mentioned. There are winds that come off mountain ranges around the world that actually can push you to these altitudes. And it's which are actually sailing right. Yes yes and in the Southern Hemisphere there's something called polar vortex which causes strong winds to about 9000 feet. And it's the strong winds over the mountains that we need in order to create a dress that go at that time. So we're looking at the that that the glider here many conceded round windows because this is a pressurized cap and you don't have an engine to pressure rises to you carry an air bottle right pump a lot of air and there won't be the problem if you weren't pressurized and you try to go to 9000 feet. Bill in order to survive him it needs to have a certain pressure. Body. What boy. Two. So this basically is it like flying in a jetliner the way I feel when I'm at 3439000. V absolutely yes. OK so let's talk about some of the science. When you get up there these waves that in these the import taxes the all the swing coming off these mountain range and sending you'll high. You think we might learn something in the entire project instrument learn something about climate change. Absolutely you know bill whole. System. Is based on models and the predictions are based on models. And there is interaction between drew applause with his lower level in the stratosphere which is upper level and of the mountain ways. Fact that interface. And things we learn line or vortex should help make the models better when shall make it easier to predict the future. We're looking at the cockpit this is into flying. But it. Looks. Not. Terribly uncomfortable but not the most comfortable confident that reasoning. So lightly plays future loan pledged fifteen and half hours no there's no plan similar to. Well let's talk come back one more time to why this is important but what can we just take an engine aircraft to 90000 feet to study. The upper atmosphere and and what climate change are what else whatever else we can learn from it. Well part of what we learn is a study of grass down dress when you have a airplane and engine. It's very difficult to serve smaller dressed and small downdraft. Also the edge of potentially content contaminate that area around the airplane. But without the engine we know that any air samples we taker not contaminated. Now you are headed to Argentina. You're. The best for you to trying to get up will what will you be trying to accomplish in this like tells all about it. On this season will be flying out of vote Ocala fire today which is of southern Argentina. No immediate goal is to get too above the current altitude record. We're in a flight test program at the stage where it gradually expanding envelope hire hire an altitude so. Each flight we'll try to go about 101000. And hopefully we can step up at least 60000 this year. So you hope to be at 60000 feet in this little lighter this year that's there and the ultimate goal ninety would you actually try to get there. Yes maybe not this year because we're again or delivered a buildup fashion. After each flight we analyzed the telemetry. And we analyze it do it clicked on the airplane to make sure that their plan is behaving as predicted. And then just like it took place just that point to as long as that airplane. Is flying like the prediction. We can confidently go to the next step timing for this one's a going to happen. That's on the weather. Laughter regards and Joomla of this point. But oh this year we'll have good weather and the by the middle of August. And for someone who's. Flawless much you have what's the highest altitude you've been. And what do you think it will be like at 67000. Feet. Eleven and a 42200. Himself plane which was on pressurized as part of the project would visit the US air force because pilots who are we had pressure since. One thing we know for sure it will be very cold. And as you get higher and higher eventually in the sky turns dark because there's not enough fear to diffuse light that that comes from the sun. On the edge of space the space sir. I wish you luck Jim thanks very much for joining us insurance. The pearl and then the efforts that made. To get that high and learn some signs reprieve it Erma my pleasure and thank you for joining us on David curly from ABC news we'll see in the next.
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