Evgeny Kabanov and Alexey Bvevich choppered in from Moscow today in Evgeny’s Robertson R66 Helicopter to my temporary Russian base at Konakovo to discuss the operation of General Aviation Aircraft in Russia. Evgeny operates Makgas.com which provides permits and handling services for General Aviation Aircraft and Alexey is Chief of the Russian Main Air Traffic Management Centre. The problems of the past to flying a small plane across Russia have been the availability of Avgas, English-speaking controllers, and access to the air traffic control system en-route system at altitudes below 11,000’. Surprisingly, security concerns have not generally been an obstacle. Evgeny and Alexey have set their sights on correcting all of this and along with several other agencies and individuals have made it possible to cross Russia with a small plane today. This is no easy accomplishment as Russia spans over 5,000 linear miles from west to east, crosses two continents, and has 11 time zones. Alexey explained that there are approximately 8,300 ATC controllers and 31,000+ employees of the Russian ATC system which will soon have 11 area control centers. Makgas.com not only provides permits and handling services across Russia, and other border countries, but also has been instrumental in organizing 100LL Avgas across Russia. See their fuel map at makgas.com.The official message from the Manager of the Russian Main Air Traffic Management Center and Makgas.com is that Russian Air Space is open for business and General Aviation Aircraft are welcome! My next stops are planned around some of the general aviation airports near Moscow including; UUBM, Myachkovo to visit the Russian National Aerobatic team, UUDN, Novinki, to visit the Cessna dealership and flight school and the S7 Airline training facility located at UUCT, Bityagovo. After Bityagovo it’s eastbound.