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12-Volt Lithium Batteries Take Flight on the Airbus Perlan 2 Glider

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On September 3rd, 2017 the Airbus Perlan Mission II made history when it broke the world attitude record for gliders. It soared over 52,00 feet in the Patagonia region of Argentina. The ultimate goal for the Perlan 2 is to fly 90,000 feet at the edge of space. About two weeks ago, the Perlan 2 began its expedition to Argentina, where the next part of the project begins; soaring in the skies of Patagonia!

For the Perlan Project, Battle Born Batteries made them BB10012 lithium ion deep cycle batteries customized with internal temperature sensors. Our 12-volt lithium batteries have allowed customers from all types of professions to get out there and stay out there! As a company, we strive to provide our customers with quality products, including customized orders such as this. Keep reading to learn more about the Airbus Perlan Mission II.

The Perlan plane is flying in the blue skies.

Perlan II

Jim Payne is chief pilot of the Airbus Perlan 2 within the Perlan Project. The Airbus Perlan 2 is a sailplane/glider designed to fly at the edge of space where the air density is less than 2% of what it is at sea level. It has a maximum gross weight of 2,000 pounds and a wing span of 84 feet. Its true flight speed at 90,000 will be 350 knots (403 mph). The Perlan 2’s mission is to fly to 90,000 feet to explore the science of giant mountain waves that help create the ozone hole and change global climate models.

Jim Payne first met Einar Enevoldson, founder and chairman of the Perlan Project, in the 1980s through their mutual love of soaring. When the Perlan 1 mission took place, Jim consulted with him during it and was later asked to join the Perlan Mission II. The Perlan I’s goal was to prove that a sailplane could soar above the tropopause.

Chief Pilot: Jim Payne

Pilot Jim Payne is standing in an airplane hangar and smiling.

As for background on the Chief Pilot himself, Jim Payne started soaring at the Air Force Academy in 1971. His paper for his senior technical writing course was “A Report on High Altitude Sailplane Flight.” He flew F-4, F-5, F-16, F-16XL among other aircraft for the Air Force. At the Academy Jim made his first wave flight and was immediately hooked. “It was an amazing facet of the atmosphere. There is so much power in the wave, that it is awe inspiring”, he says. Jim has 14 world soaring records and over 85 national records. In 2001 he was awarded the Lilienthal Medal, which is the highest award give by the FAI for gliding.

As for his wife, Jacqueline Payne, she has also been a soaring and power pilot for 40 years. Jacqueline has received awards from the SSA for Exceptional Service and an Eaton Trophy. Currently, she serves as Chief of Logistics and Ground Operations for the Perlan project as well. The Payne’s have a glider of their own that contain a 100 Ah LiFePO4 Battle Born battery. Their sailplane is an ASH 25, which is a two-seater high performance glider.

Battle Born Batteries Take Flight

The crew at the Perlan project currently have three Battle Born Batteries, “We have one 100 Ah battery and one 50 Ah battery installed in the Perlan 2. We also have a backup 100 Ah battery.” They chose to go with Battle Born Batteries because of the high energy density and reliability. They had researched lithium batteries before but failed to find something reliable, until Battle Born. Flying the Perlan 2 into higher altitudes within the Troposphere to ride the waves of wind can get very cold. Our Battle Born Batteries have a heater within the Perlan 2 to stay functioning and reliable. Therefore, our batteries also help various scientific energy instruments, heater, and cameras to remain in working condition to gather the needed data. If the glider’s system ever fails, then scientists won’t be able to study the data from where they were flying.

The tail of The Perlan Plane is pictured flying above clouds.

Not only that but our lithium ion batteries help because of the weight, “for what we are doing, weight is not our friend. Having lightweight batteries helps the Perlan 2 climb in the wave,” explains Jim.

The duration of this project is unknown because they depend on donations and sponsors. But while it lasts, Jim let us know about his favorite thing being involved in the Perlan II mission: “working with amazingly talented people and doing things no one has done before.”

To keep up to date with the team, follow their blog where they speak about the journey of the project. The blogs, “Exciting Upgrades for Perlan 2” and “Perlan 2 Upgrades” feature Battle Born Batteries!


For those interested in entering the same profession, Jim states, “take a glider lesson at your earliest convenience. I have met many people who wish that they had tried it sooner”.   For more information on the Perlan 2, check out the Perlan Project Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Website.

To find more information on our batteries, click here.

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10 thoughts on “12-Volt Lithium Batteries Take Flight on the Airbus Perlan 2 Glider

    1. Yunus, you’re more than welcome to give us a call or send us an email and we will help you on your system. Our phone number is 855-292-2831 or you can email us at: [email protected]. Thank you!

  1. I have an existing 48V off grid system.
    Three KW solar panels, Outback flex max 80 amp voltage regulator, Spartan 6500 watts split phase inverter, four 200 amp/hour AGM batteries.
    Would like to keep controller and inverter. Four 100 amp/hour lithium batteries will be sufficient for my needs.
    Can you recommend controller settings and which of your batteries to use.

    1. Hi Eric, yes we can recommend you a system. Give us a call at 855.292.2831 or fill out the form under the “contact” tab on our website and we can have someone reach out. 🙂

    1. Hi Kevin, if you are interested in becoming a dealer of Battle Born Batteries, please email into [email protected]. Please use “Becoming a dealer” in the subject line so that our team is able to get you in touch with the correct department. Thank you!

  2. The article is from 2018. Is there any news on the project since then? Would be amazed to hear they reached 90,000′ ASL. I used to maintain a high flyer, the SR-71, which in powered flight stayed around 80,000.

    1. Hi John, that’s great to hear you were able fly that high! We’d love to hear more about your experience. Our team is planning to do a check in and follow up with the team, so stay tuned for an update then.

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