High altitude support for Sochi

A Russian pilot and designer is aiming to break the world altitude record among super light aircraft to show his personal support for Sochi's Olympic bid. Aleksandr Begak says he will fly his paraglider to an altitude higher than 5,500 metres.

It took two years of hard work to produce the flying machine called 'The Scarab'. The bulletproof windshield alone had to be re-made eight times. The final version costs around $US 200,000, according to its maker.

“To this day the U.S. holds the absolute record height in such flights. That is 5,500 meters. We're planning to go higher than that,” Aleksandr says.

Higher than that means at least 6,500 meters, and this won't be easy. Temperatures at such altitude fall below 60 degrees centigrade, but that's not the only obstacle.

“The weather is changing all the time. We have to keep updating our hardware. And turbulence is strong in the daytime. That's why I'll have to fly as early as 4 o'clock in the morning,” explained Aleksandr Begak.

The location is no surprise – the pilot will make his record flight in support of Sochi's Winter Olympics bid. So far, two attempts have been thwarted due to heavy fog. Now Aleksandr hopes he will make it before the decision is announced in Guatemala.