Motorless flight celebrated, Museum unveils Steve Fossett’s record setting “Perlan I” glider with debut of permanent exhibit
The world of silent flight is celebrated at Soaring Expo 2011, held March 5-6 at The Museum of Flight. Exhibits include full-size gliders, radio-controlled gliders and the debut of a permanent display of the Museum’s record-setting Perlan I glider. Seattle-native Einar Enevoldson and adventurer Steve Fossett flew the Perlan I to a world altitude record for gliders in 2006. Lectures, movies and presentations are offered all weekend. Representatives of local soaring and RC glider clubs will be on hand to answer questions about the sport of soaring. Soaring Expo 2011 is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, and free with admission to the Museum.
Soaring Expo is an opportunity for non-pilots and airplane pilots to learn about the sport of soaring and what it takes to become a glider pilot. Lectures cover the basics of soaring, glider aerobatics, cross-country flying and competition soaring. A flight simulator will allow visitors to try their hand at soaring with a high-performance glider. Soaring clubs in attendance include Evergreen Soaring, Northwest Eagle Soaring, Pacific Aerosport, Seattle Area Soaring Society and the International Aerobatic Club.
The Perlan I Glider Exhibit
Wearing NASA spacesuits and flying along the crest of the Andes of Argentina, the late aviator/explorer Steve Fossett with co-pilot Einar Enevoldson flew the Perlan I high-performance research glider to a new altitude record 50,727 feet on August 29, 2006. The previous record for gliders was set 20 years earlier in California. The two pilots had been trying to set the record for five years with attempts in New Zealand, the United States and Argentina. The Perlan I glider is an extensively modified German-built DG-505 sport glider. This unique sailplane was acquired by the Museum in 2009; on March 5 the Perlan I takes its place with other historic aircraft on permanent display in the Museum.
Photo: The Perlan I glider in flight. Photo courtesy Powers Unlimited.
The non-profit Museum of Flight is one of the largest independent air and space museums in the world. The Museum’s collection includes more than 150 historically significant air- and spacecraft, as well as the William E. Boeing Red Barn® — the original manufacturing facility of the Boeing Co. The Airpark includes outdoor displays with the first jet Air Force One, a Concorde airliner, and the first Boeing 747 jumbo jet. The Museum aeronautical library and archival holdings are the largest on the West Coast. The Education Office offers weekend family programs, programs for students and educators, and overnight camps for children. McCormick & Schmick’s Wings Café is on site.
The Museum of Flight is located at 9404 E. Marginal Way S., Seattle, Exit 158 off Interstate 5 on Boeing Field half-way between downtown Seattle and Sea-Tac Airport. The Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $16 for adults, $14 for seniors 65 and older, $13 for active military, $9 for youth 5 to 17, and free for children under 5. Group rates are available. Admission on the first Thursday of the month is free from 5 to 9 p.m. courtesy of Wells Fargo. For general Museum information, please call 206-764-5720 or visit www.museumofflight.org