RUSSIA SETS WORLD RECORD IN WORLD'S SMALLEST AIRSHIP

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MOSCOW, April 4 (RIA Novosti) - Russian aeronaut Valeri Shkulenko from the town of Khimki has set a world flight-endurance record in the world's smallest hot-air airship of the BX-2 (FAI classification) category. RIA Novosti learnt this on Monday from chief of the Russian Aeronautics Society Sergei Bendin.

"The record - 46 minutes and 38 seconds - is instrumentally registered and confirmed by the authorized sport commissioner of the Russian Aviation Sport Federation, Yuri Vetrov. The flight was held at an altitude up to 70 meters", Bendin said.

The register of the International Aviation Federation (FAI), headquartered in Lausanne in Switzerland, keeps record of all the top achievements in aircraft, aerostats and airships. "Now, the Shkulenko record papers will be sent to Switzerland to be officially registered", Bendin said.

The Au-29 Zyablik one-seat airship has been developed and built by specialists from the Avgur Aeronautic Center in 2005. Its envelope is 860 cubic meters in volume. The payload, including the pilot, is 150 kilograms. "The airship develops a speed up to 40 kilometers/hour, which is fine for this category. The record flight continued from 8:36 (takeoff) to 9:23 (landing), Moscow time, near Ramenskoe in Moscow region", Bendin said.

In turn, Shkulenko noted: "The airship was very manageable. It was gladdening that, even flying upwind, it behaved OK. Such hot-air airships are a boon for lovers of flying in the clouds".

The FAI register of world records lists four Russians - Nikolai Galkin (flight duration in category BX-4 hot-air airship) in February 2004, Natalia Volodicheva and Yekaterina Kochetkova (women's flight-duration record in category BX-4 hot-air airship) in February 2005, Leonid Putintsev (speed record in category BA-02 gas-filled airship) in February 2005.

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