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Breaking News: QNH, Feet, Moscow FIR Overhaul, VFR Routes, FRA and more

Effective December 3rd Russia is switching to QNH for civil aviation, leaving QFE behind. Finally Russia found the courage to harmonize regulations with the world. It is now QNH and feet below transition altitude and flight levels above transition level.


Another great news is a full-scale Moscow FIR overhaul. While primarily focused on upper airspace declutter, inbound and outbound streams alignment, SID/STAR optimization and cutting short holding time, it has also introduced new VFR commuter routes in Moscow and adjacent FIRs.

Several new VFR routes available for international traffic have been established and that is utterly important to connect Moscow with the neighbouring countries. International VFR routes now link Moscow with St. Petersburg, Belarus, Ukraine, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and other countries in Europe. Commuter routes around the city of Moscow have also been opened for international traffic with ATC in English language, altitude in feet and pressure in hPa by QNH, commonly used elsewhere in the world.

Clicking the map below opens full screen detailed VFR routes with all turning points and designated altitudes on each segment in Moscow and contiguous FIRs. 

One more breakthrough accomplishment is opening of several new VFR international routes on the Russian Pacific coast.

Starting December 3rd all international airports (ports of entry) on the Pacific coast are connected with the neutral waters by low level routes tailored for VFR flights. Airports UHWW, UHSS, UHPP, UHMM, UHMA and UHMD are now easily accessible by VFR flights originating from Korea, Japan and USA on the convenient altitudes starting 12 NM from the coastline.

Since the open waters are considered class G airspace, there is no need to enter Russian FIR on high flight levels, any altitude chosen by crew is permitted to cross the FIR boundary. Further approaching the coast aircraft may now simply join newly established VFR route on a safe VFR altitude and following that route would land at the port of entry. No more VFR flights above the clouds to comply with FIR entry point flight levels, no more forced IFR flights, no more delays due to IMC to enter or leave Russia.

Needless to say all IFR routes remain available too, and a number of former domestic airways have been converted to international ones, allowing foreign aircraft to use them for more effective routing.

Click the map above to open full screen map with VFR routes to the entry ports in the Russian Far East to see details. Or visit our dedicated VFR page to see all available VFR routes across Russia with turning points, altitudes and distances.


Last but not least, a free route airspace (FRA) has been implemented and is now actively used in Magadan Oceanic ACC both over Pacific and Arctic oceans. Trials have recently commenced also in Kaliningrad FIR over the Baltic Sea. Further FRA expansion is undergoing approvals.

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