The 2,000 kilometers across the Bering Sea to Siberia require good weather planning. Wind and weather at the destination airfields must be well analyzed. However, the weather can change quickly in the area. What looked great at the start can look completely different 5 hours later. If there would be too strong headwind, the flight will take longer, and if there are problems at the destination airport (bad weather or runway closure due to a malfunction), alternative airfields must be available. But there are not so many alternatives in the area. So there must be enough fuel on board to be able to fly to an alternative airfield that is further away.
Russian air traffic control assigned us a high cruising altitude of 24,000 feet. Unfortunately, right after takeoff in Anchorage, we crossed a heavy layer of ice. Despite deicing systems, not all the ice was blown off. This slowed us down a bit in flight.
Our first destination is Ugolny airfield next to the town of Anadyr. Ugolny is also a military airfield and thus has heightened security conditions. Strategic fighter-bombers line the runway. Very impressive.
After landing, we were then met by customs and immigration. Our handling agent was also there. He took us by the hand and guided us through the formalities. We filled out all the forms and signed them (we don't really know what we signed here either) and within 30 minutes we were "entered".
It was funny...we were "cleared" in a hall right next to the apron and filled out all the forms. Customs and Border Protection had and with the handling agent helping us fill out the forms. That was very nice. After all the forms were filled out and signed, we went to the "official" part. The same officials then sat down behind them counter, we had to get there, they stamped our forms, went past the counter, then were in the country...then did a 180 degree turn...went back to the counter, they then confirmed we could go back to the plane and then it was back to the plane. Checking in at the counter was probably the formal step into the country :-)
By the way. We had asked how often "small planes" land here...Our agent said we were the first plane of this kind since 2012...So we stood out ;-)
We were positively surprised how fast everything went. After a maximum of one hour, we had entered the country, refueled the plane, and were already in the air to our next destination: Petropavlovsk.