Indonesian Air Force officials in Medan, North Sumatra, on Sunday released a civilian aircraft manned by a Swiss national and originated from Katunayake Airport that it captured on Thursday after it flew into Indonesian air space without permission.
Its pilot, 65-year-old Heinz Peier, was reportedly flying around the world, and had been on his way to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Singapore, when he entered Indonesian air space.
Soewondo Air Force base commander Lt. Col. Yani Prasetyo said officials’ investigation of Peier showed that the pilot’s destinations had required him to cross over Indonesia, but he had taken off before his license to enter Indonesian air space was issued, despite having initially applied for the document.
Yani said the decision to allow Peier to leave the base was taken after officials made sure he had the needed papers.
“He has been allowed to fly after again processing his license from the Foreign Ministry, the Transportation Ministry and the Indonesian Military.
“Everything has been settled, that is why he’s now allowed to fly,” Yani said on Sunday, as quoted in a report by Detik.com.
National Air Defense Sector III commander Air Commodore Sungkono said officers had detected the plane while it was flying in the Meulaboh area, West Aceh, and immediately deployed its F-16 fighters once it was confirmed that the plane had entered Indonesian airspace.
The plane was then forced to land at the Soewondo military air base at 12:44 p.m., where Peier was taken in for questioning by officials.
During the preliminary investigation, Peier said the he had left from Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on the way to the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
He was reported to be flying alone without any particular mission.
The Swearingen SX-300 was first developed by Ed Swearingen, an aviation expert from San Antonio, Texas, in 1980, and had its initial flight on July 1, 1984.
The plane is a high-performance aircraft from the US developed by an aviation engineer that accommodates two people, with three propellers, and has the capability to fly at 106 kilometers per hour (66 miles per hour).