Famous traveler Fedor Konyukhov and pilot Igor Potapkin have set a new record for the non-stop flight distance on a two-seater powered paraglider. In almost eight hours, the crew covered more than 630 kilometers from Vologda to the village of Miloslavskoye in Ryazan Oblast. The impressive result was achieved during the air expedition "From the White Sea to the Black Sea". It is a preparation for the first ever conquest of the North Pole on a powered paraglider. The project is supported by the Russian Geographical Society.
The former world record for a non-stop flight on a powered paraglider belonged to the Polish pilot Krzysztof Romicki. In 2018, he flew 427 kilometers on the route Krakow – Zakrzewo.
Fedor Konyukhov and the Master of Sports of International Class, pilot Igor Potapkin announced the air expedition "From the White Sea to the Black Sea" at the end of April at the Headquarters of the Russian Geographical Society in Moscow. Four aircraft launched on World Environment Day, June 5, from Arkhangelsk. The route, the final destination of which will be Novorossiysk, goes through Plesetsk, Vologda, Yaroslavl, Pereslavl-Zalessky, Sergiev Posad, Moscow, Tula, Voronezh, Boguchar, Rostov-on-Don, and Krasnodar. On Russia Day, June 12, the travelers plan to visit the capital of our country; and the finish is tentatively scheduled for June 20-22. The total length of the route is about 3,000 kilometers.
The Russians broke the Polish record on June 8, starting early in the morning from Trufanovo Airfield in Vologda. Landscapes of Vologda, Yaroslavl, Kostroma, Ivanovo, Vladimir, and Ryazan Oblasts were replacing one another under the wing of the powered paraglider. Seven hours and 52 minutes after takeoff, having covered 631.2 kilometers, the crew landed in the village of Miloslavskoye. The flight took place at an altitude of up to one kilometer at a speed of up to 90 kilometers per hour.
The multi-stage flight within the framework of the expedition "From the White Sea to the Black Sea" will be one of the stages of preparation for the first ever conquest of the North Pole on a powered paraglider. With their extreme flight, Fedor Konyukhov and Igor Potapkin intend to support the federal project "Clean Arctic" – "spring cleaning" in the Russian high latitudes, which will free the Arctic spaces from garbage accumulated here over decades of development.
The start of the expedition is scheduled for August 1 this year in Murmansk. The crew will be taken to Rudolf Island on the icebreaker “50 Let Pobedy”. From there, Konyukhov and Potapkin will fly to the pole. The icebreaker will also pick up the aeronauts after they have completed the task. The brave pilots should return to Murmansk on August 13.
The main goal of the project is to fly as far as possible without refueling. At the same time, the paraglider will be accompanied by the vessel with fuel and everything necessary. There are several options for conducting the flight.
“To the North Pole from Franz Josef Land in a straight line – 830 kilometers. If we fly 500, there will still be more than 300. Our speed is 50 kilometers per hour, and the icebreaker will go 18 kilometers per hour. We'll wait a couple of days for it to arrive, and a helicopter will bring us gasoline. We'll refuel and go to the North Pole," Konyukhov told about one of them during a press conference at the Headquarters of the Russian Geographical Society in Moscow.
A year ago, the icebreaker "50 Let Pobedy" delivered Fedor Konyukhov to an ice floe within the framework of the project “Clean Arctic”, where the first one-person drifting polar station in history was deployed. The famous traveler measured the seismic activity of the Arctic Ocean floor and studied the intensity of ice melting during the drift.