At 1300 Alaskan time, (2200 in the UK), Colin Hales, a 46 year old aircraft mechanic from Staffordshire, took off from Nome Airport, Western Alaska yesterday to head further west. His intention is to cross the Bering Straights and fly into Russian Federation Airspace, on Route to China.
“So what?” you may ask… Well he set off in a tiny 22 foot wingspan aircraft that he built himself and has been flying around the world and attending airshows with, since June 2014.
No one has been permitted to fly through East Russian Airspace in a private aircraft for about eight years and no one has ever flown through Russian Federation Airspace in such a small aircraft.
How Colin has managed to complete the complicated negotiations to obtain transit permission from the Russian Federal Air Transport Authority and be granted permission to land in the Chukotka Autonomous Region of Eastern Russia, to continue on through to China, again nobody really knows.
He wrote on his facebook page that he intends to land at Anadyr, Magadan and Blagoveshchensk Ignatyevo airport, on the Chinese border before continuing on into The Peoples Republic of China to attend the 2016 Shenyang International Aviation Expo at Faku Caihu Airport, 300 miles north east of Beijing.
But apart from that there is no more information.
His chances of success must be minimal, as it probably requires him to fly his tiny 15 foot long aircraft for over ten hours at a time between those airports. He is completely unsupported by any outside means and looks only to be supported in the cockpit by a team of... soft toys...?
With so little known about the guy, the only way to follow his progress is to track him on his website: www.kr2worldtour.com
If he arrives in China, it will surely be one of the major flying achievements by a UK pilot for many years and he will probably have quite a story to tell!