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Thursday, 21 May, 1998, 03:15 GMT 04:15 UK
Round-the-world Britons grounded
Global Flyer
The GT Global Flyer is the smallest aircraft to attempt such a journey
Two British men hoping to fly round the world in a microlight aircraft are grounded on a Russian island after being denied permission to cross the country's airspace.

Brian Milton and Keith Reynolds are 59 days into their journey in which they aim to break the world record of 175 days for an open-cockpit, single-engined circumnavigation of the globe.

The pair arrived on Sakhalin island from Japan's main northern island of Hokkaido six days ago.

But they have been told they cannot fly on to the Russian mainland because their GT Global Flyer is unable to reach the 30,000-36,600ft (9,000-11,000m) altitude set by Russia as an international air corridor. The microlight's maximum flying height is 12,000ft (6,096m).

Russian officials have contacted the Defence Ministry and the Federal Aviation Service in Moscow to ask whether the rules could be waived.

Brian Milton
Brian Milton remains hopeful
The aviators posted a message on their Internet site on Wednesday saying: "We are still hopeful that we can sort out the situation in Russia. We continue to liaise with embassies, consuls and anyone else of a political/diplomatic persuasion."

They set off from Weybridge, south-west of London, on April 24 on the first leg of their planned 24,301 mile (38,882km) journey through 25 countries.

Journalist Mr Milton, 55, and co-pilot Mr Reynolds, a 45-year-old airfield operator, hoped to cover 300 miles (483km) a day flying at around 65mph (100kmh).

Their route took them from London to France, Germany, Italy, Greece and Cyprus before crossing to Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman, then across the Arabian Sea to Pakistan.

From there they flew on to India, Bangladesh and Burma, before going on to Vietnam, China, Hong Kong, Japan and Russia.

From Russia they had planned to go via the Aleutian islands in the north Pacific to Alaska, and then on to Canada, the United States, Canada again, Greenland, Iceland, the Faroe Islands in the North Sea, Scotland and London.

Their Pegasus Quantum 912 microlight, described as a large hang-glider with a motorbike slung underneath, is the smallest and lightest aircraft ever to attempt such a journey.

See also:

14 Apr 98 | UK
Flight into the unknown
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