Vedomosti: Putin to fly with endangered cranes
5.09.12 11:39 By News Dept.
On his way to the APEC summit in Vladivostok, President Vladimir Putin will travel to Yamal island and, weather permitting, will try to hang glide in the role of alpha male in a group of captive birds - endangered siberian cranes. Organisers and presidential staff informed the "Vedomosti" newspaper about these plans as part of the project called the "Flight of Hope."
"The pilot's role is to be the leader of the pack. He shows the route," said Yuri Markin, Director of the Oka State Biosphere Reserve in the Ryazan region, to Vedomosti.
Cranes are raised in this wildlife refuge which are transported to Kushevat for training and migration
The "Flight of Hope" project creator and head of the Institute of Biodiversity Conservation, Alexander Sorokin, did not rule out Putin's taking part in glider pilot training flights.
According to Dmitry Volgin, a pilot for "Flight of Hope," Putin's opportunity to fly depends on the weather.
"They discussed different alternatives for [Putin's] participation, all of them are technically difficult, so what this will become of this isn't known," Volgin said.
He did not deny that Putin had received hang glider special training.
It takes about six months to learn to fly a motorised hang glider, says Arseny Gritskevich, director of the flight school "Deltaflay" and flight instructor. It requires about 20 hours of theory and 15 hours in the air, but up to 2 hours a day is recommended.
The idea of leading cranes back to their natural habitats using gliders appeared in the U.S. in 2001. Russian scientists have adopted the American ideas and developed the "Flight of Hope" project. This is the projects first year, including its first planned winter migration flights.
Putin's attaché Dmitry Peskov confirmed that the president had learned to fly and has visited Yamal ahead of the APEC summit, but refused to give details.
On Friday, Putin opens plenary session of the summit.
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