VFR Route Opened To Russia

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Flying to Alaska can now be the start of an even bigger adventure. The FAA has issued a NOTAM opening a VFR route from Alaska to Russia. Route B-369 takes the venturesome GA pilot from Nome to Provideniya, a 275-nm trip that includes 39 miles over open water. Alaska Region FAA staff have been working on the route for three years and hope it eventually leads to a safe VFR route to Japan. But before you start packing your fur hat, be mindful that the legendary Russian bureaucracy must have its due. Pilots with passports can expect to wait at least 30 days before finally getting the nod to take off. First, you need an invitation to apply for a visa. Then you need to actually apply for the visa and, 14 days in advance, you must get permission from Moscow to make the flight. On the day of the flight, an ICAO flight plan must be filed. Keep your wallet handy. Russia imposes an air traffic fee of $49 per 100 kilometers -- about $200 for this flight. The VFR corridor is 10 km wide and approved altitudes are 5,000 to 10,000 feet.