Russian pilot plans to set world long-distance record on ultralight aircraft

Russian pilot Alexander Begak is going to set a world long-distance non-stop record on ultralight flying craft.

For twenty-four hours the 29-year-old student, a parachutist and stunt man, will be flying on a motor paraplane called Skarabei, designed by Moscow Aviation Institute /MAI/ students, on the St Petersburg-Moscow route.

The craft consists of a motor capsule which accommodates the pilot, and a soft wing like the cupola of a steerable parachute with an area of 42 square metres. Depending on air currents and terrain, the flight will go on at an altitude of 50-300 metres.

The route has been laid over the highway linking the two Russian cities.

The tentative starting place is Palace Square at the centre of St Petersburg. The landing point in Moscow is not yet determined.

According to Begak, the project is dedicated to aviators of the early 20th century.

Initially, the flight was planned for the summer of last year, but Alexander crashed when searching for a man in the mountains, and the flight was put off until autumn.

But after the September 11th tragedy in the US the record-setting date was changed again.

The flight will be monitored by representatives of the Guinness book of records.

The project deadline is August 3rd.