TOPIC: “Perlan 2 Takes to the Skies: Perlan 2 Update”
Jim Payne started soaring at the Air Force Academy in 1971. He graduated from the Academy as the Class of 1974 Outstanding Cadet in Soaring. During over 6,300 hours of soaring, he has earned a Gold Badge with 3 Diamonds, a 1,000 km Diploma, a Triple Lennie Pin for a flight to 42,200 feet, a World Distance Award, 14 World and over 85 national records. Known as “Jet Pilot” in the racing community, he was the Gold Medalist in the 1995, 1996, and 2009 SSA Distance Award competition. He won the 1996/1997 Hilton Cup and was the 1999 US National Open Class Soaring Champion. Jim has won five OLC World Championships (distance) and eight Speed OLC World Championships.
Jim was the U.S. team manager five times and was an Open Class pilot at the 2001 World Championships in South Africa. For many years he held the fastest world record at 247 km/hr (154 mph), a record that was listed in the 2006 Guinness. He was awarded the 2001 Lilienthal Medal winner (highest award given by the FAI for gliding) and is a member of the Soaring Hall of Fame. He is retired from the Air Force where he was an F-16 test pilot and from Northrop Grumman where he managed Global Hawk flight test and was a test pilot on the Firebird.