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When You Fly Your Homemade Plane Into Indonesian Airspace …

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Slade Sohmer

By Slade Sohmer
April 10, 2014 at 4:27 pm



Retired Swiss pilot Heinz Peier, 65, has been flying around the world for the last two years in a red Swearingen SX300 airplane he built himself. He’s visited 31 countries and more than 100 cities in the aircraft, beginning with Belize in 2012.

Peier keeps a meticulous travel blog of his nonstop Wings and Wheels movement. His last entry is dated April 8, from Sri Lanka, where he observed, “The People here in Sri Lanka are really polite , helpful , very Friendly. But due to the Political Socialistic structure with all the bureaucratic Nonsense overly burdened…. but then probably not a bad way to keep the unemployment in check for the 20 million Inhabitants.” There, he decided to refuel his aircraft and head for the Philippines.

But when he entered into Indonesian airspace, Peier was joined by Indonesian Air Force fighter jets, which forced him to land at Soewondo Air Base. There he was greeted by what looks like a diorama full of Army toys and a Snoopy plane, but is probably the most real, horrifying scene awaiting a solo flier outside his own country.

AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara

AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara

AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara

AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara

AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara

AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara

AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara

AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara

Peier was promptly arrested, and it’s unknown at this time whether he has been released yet.

AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara

AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara

UPDATE: The Jakarta Post got a story up about Peier:

“The foreign aircraft was intercepted 80 nautical miles west of Meulaboh, Aceh. The plane was then forced to land at the Soewondo Airbase,” [National Defense Sektor III commander Air Marshal] Sungkono said at the airbase in Medan on Thursday.

He added that the authorities were still questioning the pilot. Sungkono said that based on initial questioning, the plane was en route from Colombo in Sri Lanka to Singapore. He added that the pilot had claimed he was unaware he had entered Indonesia’s airspace.

“Based on his statement, it seems the pilot did not know the country’s territory,” Sungkono said, adding that Pieter was a retired commercial airline pilot from Switzerland. Sungkono said his command had not discovered any indication of threat from the foreign aircraft.

“As yet, there seems to be no threat to our territorial sovereignty. He [Pieter] appears to be guilty only of not having a permit, which he should have had before entering our territorial airspace. But we are still investigating the incident,” he said, adding that the Swearingan SX-300 civilian plane was personally owned by the pilot.

You can check out Heinz’s travel blog by clicking here, or his pic below:

heinz

SEE ALSO:
Amelia Earhart Is Flying Around the World Again (Really)
Today In 1960: Two Planes Collided Over NYC In ‘Worst Aviation Disaster Ever’

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