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Flying into Trouble

Indonesian Air Force Compel Swiss Aviator Heinz Pier Violating National Airspace to Land in North Sumatra

(4/14/2014) The continuing search for the wreckage of MAS 370 and suggestions that the plane may have flown through Indonesian airspace undetected were dispelled in part by reception given on Thursday, April 10, 2014, to single-engine aircraft that strayed into Indonesian airspace.

A Swearingen SX-300 aircraft flown and hand-built by a retired Swiss aviator violated Indonesian airspace while flying from Colombo, Sri Lanka to Singapore and was subsequently intercepted by F-16 fighters from the Indonesian Air Force and forced to land at Soewondo Airbase near Medan, North Sumatra.

As the airplane flown by 65-year-old Swiss adventurer Heinz Peir came to a stop on the runway the pilot found his airplane surrounded by armed combat troops armed and fully prepared to prejudicially  bring to end any untowardly situation that might develop.

Fortunately, the man quickly surrendered to military police, was frisked and led away for question by Air Force and national aviation authorities.

The Swiss aviator, Heinz Pier, maintains a blog online retelling of his visits to more than 31 countries, a list that now includes Indonesian where he and his plane may remain on an indefinite stay due to a failure to obtain permission before overflying the Republic’s airspace.

The Indonesian Aviation Law Number 15 of 1992 (paragraphs 13 & 58) provides punishments of up to five years in prison and fines of up to Rp. 60 million (US$5,200) for civil aircraft that violate Indonesian Airspace without priot overflight permission.

Peir could face further complications from the fact that his airplane is registered as an “experimental aircraft” and that the Indonesian authorities might determine the airplane does not meet national airworthiness certification needed for it to be allowed take off from an Indonesian airport.