In 1942, the Pratt-Read Piano Company was awarded a contract to build 100 two-place training gliders for the U.S. Navy. Despite initial manufacturing difficulties, the Pratt-Read PR-G1 was a robust glider with a fabric-covered steel tube fuselage with exquisitely crafted wooden wings and tail. The PR-G1's were sold as surplus after World War II, and in the early 1950s a couple of them were acquired for a daring investigation of high altitude weather and flight conditions called the Sierra Wave Project, based near the Sierra Nevada mountains in Bishop, California. The inherent strength of the Pratt-Read made it an ideal platform in the high winds and extreme turbulence encountered in the program. In 1952, project pilots Larry Edgar and Harold Klieforth soared to 44,255 feet in a Pratt-Read, setting a new world altitude record for two-place gliders. The record endured for an incredible 54 years, until Steve Fossett and Einar Enevoldson flew over the Argentinean Andes to 50,727 feet in their modified DG-500, the Perlan I glider.
The Museum's Pratt-Read, now at the Restoration Center, is undergoing restoration and will be finished to represent the U.S. Navy LNE-1 variant.