MOSCOW — Eleven-year-old Tony Aliengena learned after he landed at Moscow's Sheremetyvo Airport on Monday that odds are against his presenting Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev a friendship scroll bearing good will signatures from more than 250,000 U.S. schoolchildren.
Gorbachev probably will be kept busy all week presiding over the session of the Supreme Soviet, said Sergei Tchermeykh, an official of the Ministry of Civil Aviation, whose 10-year-old son, Roman, is accompanying Tony around the world.
Tchermeykh said the young pilot may have to present the scroll to one of Gorbachev's assistants on Wednesday.
"If he (Gorbachev) is free he will meet with him," said Tchermeykh, who was among the 75 people who turned out to greet Tony. "But I personally doubt it."
Tchermeykh also provided some sobering insight on the rigors of the 7,000-mile Soviet leg of Tony's trip. He said Tony and his entourage will face formidable aviation problems while traveling into the sparsely settled countryside in the Soviet far east.
The foremost problem, he said, will be that almost no air traffic controllers in Siberia and the east speak English. He said Tony will have to depend on his on-board Soviet navigator.
Tony also faces the daunting challenge of traversing a high range of mountains in the Soviet far east through which no small plane has flown, said Tchermeykh, who plans to accompany the young pilot on the Soviet leg of the trip. "It is a very difficult project," Tchermeykh said. "But I think and say it is possible."
A more pressing dilemma confronted the nine Americans in Tony's entourage when they arrived in Moscow only to discover none had hotel reservations. The Americans had been told that the reservations had been made by the Soviet Foundation for Social Invention, an agency sponsoring Tony's trip through the country.
Foundation representatives instead hustled the weary and confused Americans aboard a bus and parceled them out to the homes of various Moscow residents who volunteered their help.
The lack of accommodations angered some of the Americans, and the anger boiled over when a foundation representative began collecting passports and visas from the group.
"I don't know where I'm going, I don't know what I'm doing and now you take my passport," Julia Roberson, a member of a Los Angeles-based film crew accompanying Tony, snapped at one of the foundation representatives.