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Baltic Ultralights In Russia

In July 2018 three crews from Riga arrived to Tver region in Russia to participate in a large aviation rally display program. Guests from Baltics were immediately surrounded by care, thanks to Rustem Gumerov, their fellow RV-lover and B747 captain from Moscow. 

“It took us about 6 weeks to plan the route and get permission to fly and participate in the show,” says RV pilot Julia Potekhina, who inspired and arranged this flight. “Perhaps it could be much faster indeed, but we thought about every smallest detail and discussed every nuance many times”.

The group flew together for the first time. Main criteria to select participants was their desire to be part of the event. Julia was discouraged from forming a group consisting of various types of aircraft with notably different technical characteristics. But her position on this subject remained clear: it's better to overcome technical difficulties together rather than to offend pilots by refusing them to join the team because of “inappropriate” aircraft. That worked fine and the group successfully coped with all tasks and none of the pilots was disappointed with their journey.

The weather was not favorable. Temperature reached +34..+36! There were morning fog and strong haze. Intense extensive thunderstorms in the afternoon. Due to such weather the trip to Orlovka was split in two days. First day was Riga - Tartu - Pskov. The second was Pskov - Orlovka.

Russian air traffic controllers helped the group and tried to speak as clearly as possible especially in areas with low quality radio communications.

Flight coordinator Julia Potekhina: “Finally it all depends on your desire to fly. Of course the infrastructure is not yet as developed as in Europe. But there are many russian pilots and good people who are always ready to help with advice and deed”.

MAK General Aviation Services helped the group be part of this event in Orlovka, Russia.

Foreign pilots participation in the air shows in Russia is still not as frequent as we would like it to be. Nevertheless we believe there should be much more stories like this. We address foreign pilots not to be afraid to fly to Russia. We will support and advise at every stage.

Introducing flight team members:

Leading aircraft was Vans RV7A YL-MAI. Crew members: aircraft owner Anatoly Melnis and team leader Julia Potekhina.

Anatoly is a private pilot for over 20 years. He began as a pilot of a hang glider and then fall in love with ultralight aircrafts. Anatoly has an engineer education, thus he assembled his beloved RV7A from a kit with his own hands. This aircraft can withstand -4G to +6G. It's also equipped with a special fuel and oil systems that make complicated aerobatics possible at all. Those tech solutions produced great interest among fly-in participants. Numerous questions were asked and Anatoly gave detailed answers to his russian fellow pilots.

Julia Potekhina is an aviation engineer and a private pilot since 2002. That was her dream to organize a flight to an aviation rally in Russia.

In this flight she was lgroup leader and in charge of navigation. Julia doesn't speak English fluently and in European aviation events she have communication difficulties. Here in Russia Julia spoke her native language, and she had an opportunity to learn new things and share her own experience. Julia notes the exceptional openness and goodwill of most russian pilots.

Another aircraft was Bristell NG5 LY-BRO from Lithuania piloted by Algimantas Jankauskas. Algimantas is now 75 years old and he flies since his school years. He also performs elements of aerobatics on his ultralight. Algimantas is a frequent guest of aviation shows both in Lithuania and Latvia. His plan is to equip his Bristell with colored smoke a system to make his aerobatics more interesting and exciting.

Third aircraft was also a Bristell RG YL-IOO. Crew members: Juris Libmanis and Konstantin Bendrups. Both are private pilots for about 10 years.

When Juris got a pilot license and his own aircraft, he decided to get more. Now he is in process to open in Latvia ultralight aircraft manufacturing of his own design. Juris got advise with design and calculations from Czech engineers. And the first prototype of the new aircraft has already passed tests and is being prepared now preparing for European aviation exhibitions display.

Konstantin is a professional air traffic controller. For many years he worked at Riga control area which is neighboring Pskov control area.

During their short stay in Pskov there was a face-to-face rendez-vous of traffic controllers from Riga (Latvia) and Pskov (Russia). For years before that they communicated only by telegraph.The conversation was very touching and left positive memories!

After display program in Orlovka one of the group's aircraft was awarded in “The Most Beautiful Ultralight” nomination. Juris Libmanis received an invitation to fly to MAKS 2019 on his aircraft with a guaranteed parking stand.

We hope to see our fellows this year at the air show in Zhukovsky!

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