by Don  

The most generic verb for travelling by air in Russian is летать “to fly.” It is a perfectly regular imperfective verb and conjugates exactly like читать:

Infinitive летать
Past летал
Present летаю
Future буду летать
будешь летать
будет летать
будем летать
будете летать
будут летать
Imperative летай(те)

This is an indeterminate (multidirectional) verb of motion, which means it has several uses. First of all, in the past tense it can mean a completed trip to and from a place:

В августе мама летала в Москву. In August Mom flew to Moscow.

By using a unidirectional verb in that context, Russian clearly states that Mom is no longer in Moscow. She went there and then departed. Another example:

— Что ты вчера делал?
— Я летал в Мосвку.
— Ты туда и обратно слетал за один день? Какая у тебя сумасшедшая жизнь!
“What did you do yesterday?”
“I flew to Moscow.”
“You flew there and back in a single day? What a crazy life you lead!”

The verb can also be used of flying generically or of the ability to fly:

Змеи ползают, люди ходят, а птицы летают. Я хочу быть птицей! Snakes crawl, people walk, and birds fly. I want to be a bird!
— Как я люблю летать!
— А я нет. Вдруг в мотор влетит гусь? Тогда ты пропал!
“I really love to fly!”
“I don't. What if a goose flies into the engine? Then you are done for!”


Comment from: Babelpoint [Visitor]  

As a Russian learner you might be interested in our Russian grammatical dictionary. See all forms of летать



02/13/10 @ 16:34
Comment from: Andrey [Visitor]

You can also use this word to describe a fast working program or electronic device, the opposite for “тормозит":

Я купил себе новый ноутбук вместо старого, который тормозил. Новый просто летает!

Я добавил в компьютер памяти, и Windows теперь летает!

02/11/10 @ 05:18

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