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Russian wayfarer plans to circle globe in 5 days using solar-powered glider

March 06, 16:33 UTC+3 STAVROPOL
According to Fyodor Konyukhov, a glider equipped with solar batteries is under construction for the world flight
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Fyodor Konyukhov

Fyodor Konyukhov

© Vladimir Smirnov/TASS

STAVROPOL, March 6. /TASS/. Famed Russian traveler, Fyodor Konyukhov, is getting ready for conducting a non-stop flight around the globe using a glider equipped with solar batteries. Preparations are underway in Russia’s southern Stavropol region, the traveler said at a meeting with Regional Governor Vladimir Vladimirov.

"According to my estimates, a non-stop flight around the world without refueling is possible, one could fly out of a place and then fly back there. We have already built a glider capable of beating the world record as I will have to elevate to the altitude of 16,000 to 17,000 meters above the sea level (this will be a new glider record)," Konyuhov elaborated.

According to him, a glider equipped with solar batteries is under construction for the world flight. "In the daytime, I will fly using the solar batteries, but during the night, I will take advantage of the air currents. Steve Fossett (a US businessmen and record-setting aviator) conducted world flights, but he had a glider with a jet turbine. I am not going to use that, my glider will be completely solar-powered and environment-friendly. The world has been paying much attention to this kind of energy lately," the traveler elaborated.

In order to fly at such altitude, Konyukhov will need a special outfit. "The search is underway for a special suit, it will not be an actual space suit but will resemble those worn by pilots flying at high altitudes. It will have to be compact so that is does not occupy much space in the glider. Of course, my speed will be slower than that of warplanes, my maximum speed is expected to be 230 km per hour," he added.

The world flight is planned to be launched from Mineralnye Vody located in the North Caucasus, as air currents needed for climbing to such heights are available in the area. "There are such air currents in Argentina, the United States and Australia, but a world class glider pilot once said to me: "Why do you search for air currents across the world while you have ascending air currents in the Caucasus, between the Caspian and the Black Sea?" In theory, according to all calculations, it is possible to reach an altitude of 15,000 to 17,000 meters, if not more, there," Konyukhov added.

The adventurer is presently conducting training glider flights in the Stavropol region. He will return to Mineralnye Vody at the end of spring and in the summer so that he could determine the best season for launching round-the-world flight. Members of the Russian Gliding Federation have been assisting Konyukhov in his preparations.

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