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Man becomes local celebrity after inventing propellered skis

posted 31 Jan 2011, 05:13 by Mpelembe   [ updated 31 Jan 2011, 05:15 ]

A local man invents propellered skis, reminiscent of Astrid Lindgren's fairy tale character, Karlson, a popular children's figure in Russia.

Sergei Khvalin, a resident of a small town of Dzerzhinsk in central Russia, can often be seen leaving his brick apartment building in the winter with a pair of ski's and large propeller on his back. He has invented a new form of snow transport that combines a wooden propeller with a pair of cross-country skis.

Neighbours nicknamed him Karlson after a fictional character created by Swedish author Astrid Lindgren who is incredibly popular among children in Russia.

The motorised skis attract a lot of attention from locals.

"As soon as I saw it, I thought it was really interesting. I'm just amazed - the way he skis with a motor on his back," said skier Mikhail Tanomov after closely inspecting Khvalin's invention.

Khvalin, who has been active in aviation model sports for decades, created his unusual apparatus with a small motor taken from a lawn mower, a handmade propeller and other mechanical parts taken from a paraglider that he says didn't fly very well.

"When I was I kid I was active in model aviation sports. And this is the same model aviation sport, but the adult version," Khvalin says.

The invention, with its 200 cubic centimetre engine, weighs about fifteen kilograms and can propel a person on skis at speeds up to 40 kilometres an hour.

Khvalin says that the device can be used in many different ways.

"It is a new way of transportation. Whoever does downhill skiing should understand this. It is speed, first of all and then this thing weighs 15 kilograms, so it can also be used as a workout machine. And it is great to just race straight with high speed," said Khvalin.

Dzerzhinsk residents, at first annoyed by the whirring sound of Khvalin's propeller, now come out onto the street to watch him race by and are proud to have their very own Karlson.

"This nice man of course reminded me of Karlson, the cartoon character who we all love very much. He is as charming, as nice and he also has a propeller," said one Dzerzhinsk woman.

Residents are now betting on what Khvalin's next invention will be.