Seltso, Saint Petersburg (ULSC) - 31 May 2010

After about 20 minutes of flight out of Kummolovo the pilot pointed out where we would be landing, although I really couldn't see an airfield that resembled where had started off from. No wonder I couldn't see it as it was in fact somewhere completely different. Another short concrete runway saw us landing at an airfield called Seltso 16nm to the east. This was a much smaller airfield than any others we had visited and the reason for this become clear after we disembarked and Georgi told us all about the place. This was a new airfield only built three years previously and owned by Georgi and a couple of others. They basically owned the surrounding land and decided to build their own place to fly from! This maybe a verry small airfield but it has an impressive array of equipment that would put a larger place to shame. It has two non-directional beacons (NDB) that Geogi actually built himself. Both have the identifier in morse code of SL and both run off a single 12 volt car battery. The small one has a range of 50km and the larger a range of 150km. Georgi told us that in the old days when these type of nav aids were conceived, that the calculations regarding the power needed to make these work was incorrect. Normally NDBs suck-up a fair amount of electricity but Georgi had devised a way to use a much lower voltage - this was impressive in itself but he had another ace up his sleeve.

He pointed us to a caravan on top of a hill near the end of the runway telling us that this would be his microwave landing system (MLS) when completed. This just rams home the ingenuity that the people in Russia have to forge on and experiment and build things that many would say could't be done. This would be like Popham having an NDB plus an MLS, except Popham is far far larger! Mind-blowing, but almost a normal attitude in this country. There were a pair of Ka-26s under wraps that Georgi was in the process of making into a single flyable helicopter, and on the other side of the runway in the parts storage area where the four Ka-26 engines were laying was a huge set of floats, which Georgi advised us that he intended to eventually fit to the An-2. This place blew my mind to be perfectly honest.

Then it was back to the An-2 where I would fly the final ten minutes back to Gostilitsy bring to a close the end of a great GA day. The more I learn about the grass-roots flying in Russia the more I am amazed and wish that there was similar type of things near where I live. Many thanks to Georgi for being an informative and fascinating host for the day.

Next stop SPARC Rework Facilitiy.

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