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Experiences with Russia

Flying to Russia from Europe

Anyone have experience and advice on how to do it? Thinking from Finland to St Petersburg.

EGTK Oxford

Have done exactly that, but it’s 13 years ago. Been back in Russia in 2011. Will send you a couple of notes via email.

Mainz (EDFZ), Germany

Anyone have experience and advice on how to do it? Thinking from Finland to St Petersburg.

You need a visa. You can get day visa on arrival, but it is a lot cheaper and saves a lot of time if you get them in advance. Allow four to six weeks for a one-year visa to be issued. During that time your passport will be away at the Russian embassy, so you need a second passport if you want to travel in the meantime.

For the flight plans and permissions it is best to use a specialised service provider. Our company has it’s own operations department and our own dispatcher, but for Russia we prefer to use a specialist. They really make you turn back at the FIR boundary if only one digit of your permission number on the flight plan is wrong… Or worse, they will not let you depart from Russia on the way home if the paperwork is not complete.

Expect everything to be incredibly expensive compared to European standards and don’t be surprised if it costs twice as much than your worst expectations.

EDDS - Stuttgart

If you are in no hurry, have AFTN access, and only plan fly to ULLI, you can actually try requesting the necessary permissions yourself, and then it will actually be very cheap because handling at ULLI isn’t mandatory and the landing/parking fee for foreign-registered aircraft is a per-tonne charge with no minimum (or so it was last time I checked). I can research it in more detail if you need it – I may still have some contacts left since I lived there.

LKBU (near Prague), Czech Republic

I looked into it about 1 year ago up to the point of departure. Then I could not go and had to cancel the trip. The biggest problem for me was not the overflight and landing permissions but the AVGAS fuel. If you can do with JetA1, I would not see the problem. I would use an agency to get the overland/landing permissions like e.g. White Rose Aviation (see: ) and a handler but it is something that can be done, especially from Finland. A route over White Russia is more problematic but can be done as well.

EDLE, Netherlands

On my aviation page I have the details of several overflight agents. I have not used any of them personally however. I have read both very good and very bad reviews of most of them. Best to ask a bizjet pilot who does this kind of thing a lot.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

German magazine “Pilot und Flugzeug” did some flying to Russia. In 2008 they went to ULLI and there is a report in German here:
He reports airport fees between 300 and 500 Euro.

In 2013 on a round the world trip the same pilot and editor of the magazine installed a ferry tank to avoid a landing in Russia on the way from the US to Japan. He even flew extra miles to avoid the Russian FIR over the Pacific. Other pilots of the same RTW flight reported being charged around 1 Euro per kilometer they flew in Russian airspace.

The Shoreham based pilot who flew through Russia in a turbine heli (RTW flight) spent $60k getting through (mostly bribing through, I believe) Russia. Obviously that was a much more involved undertaking than just popping over to one airport from Finland… he had a full-time guy back home in the UK, on the phone, arranging the hotels etc, and he had a satphone in the heli, wired to the intercom. I know the people involved.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

The Shoreham based pilot who flew through Russia in a turbine heli (RTW flight) spent $60k getting through (mostly bribing through, I believe) Russia.

This sounds as if he got himself ripped off big time. Our company has one aeroplane (Embraer Legacy 600) based in Russia which flies between Moscow and (mostly) other destinations in Russia and neighboring countries several times per week. Landing and handling is a lot more expensive than in the west, but nothing like these figures. As already said, one needs a specialised service for flight planning and obtaining the necessary permissions and at least one crewmember (our company employs Russian flight attendants) who is fluent in Russian.

EDDS - Stuttgart

Now that the price of oil has tanked more than ever they need all the hard currency they can get from whomever. GA is a great patsy all over the world. Its like your the only one eating in the restaurant and getting a bill where the entire restaurants expenses for the day have been totalled into your meal. With that type of mentality any wonder they are on the skids?

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