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Wings & Wheels: A Global SX300 Returns Heinz Peier to Oshkosh

Heinz Peier has spent nearly three years traveling the world in his experimental SX300. A key feature of the airplane is that his bicycle easily fits inside.

By Randy Dufault

July 24, 2015 - By his estimates Heinz Peier has, since setting out from Florida in January of 2012, traveled 100,000 miles in his bright red Swearingen SX300. Considering that the circumference of the Earth at the equator is 24,901 miles, he and the plane took what amounts to the long way around in order to get to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015.

In fact, only three days before the start of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015 Peier was in Obihiro, Japan. He had intended to fly to his home in Florida much earlier then fly from Florida to Oshkosh, but weather and bureaucratic delays caused a re-routing directly to here.

“Of course, [Japan has] very stringent rules,” Peier said. “The day I was planning to leave the weather was bad and my flight permit expired. I wanted to go the next day, but you have to wait another 10 days for another permit.

“Then there was a problem checking out of the country. I had chosen an airport that they told me it is not a problem—immigration comes to you.

“Then on the day I had the permit the immigration couldn’t come because their car broke down. The permit expired again.” 

Timing is everything...


Finally on Friday, July 17, Peier’s permit was valid and the weather looked good enough to head out on a 1,900 mile leg to Atuk Lake, Alaska, in the Aleutian chain of islands. His original plan was to fly through Russia, a route with a more reasonable 900 mile longest leg, but problems finding 100LL avgas along the route, and more flight permit issues, forced the long trip to Atuk.

Atuk is known for weather that changes very rapidly so Peier was happy to be making the flight in the speedy SX300.

“Going eastbound, especially long legs over water…with a slow airplane you have no other choice than to fly at night,” Peier said. “Because the [Obihiro] airport closes at 8 in the evening and opens at 8 in the morning, leaving at 8 in the morning is too late to reach the Aleutians in daylight [in a slower airplane]. And you don’t want to land there at night. It’s dicey enough with the weather the way that it is.”

World traveling by aircraft & bicycle

Peier’s choice of airplanes is a bit different than others that have circumnavigated the globe in piston-powered personal airplanes. He was drawn to the SX300 primarily because of its 250 knot cruise speed, simple systems, and all-aluminum construction.

And, the airplane met another important requirement: Peier’s bicycle easily fit inside.

“I call my trip wings and wheels,” he said. “In every country I take my bike out and get to know the people.”

Since leaving in 2012 Peier crossed the equator six times. He and the airplane have landed on six of the seven continents; Peier did visit Antarctica—but without the airplane.

Overall he has logged 400 hours, and with the SX300’s 250 knot normal cruise speed, that adds up to 100,000 miles.

The first part of the journey covered much of Central and South America. Europe was next after a stop back home to rebuild the engine, and a stop at AirVenture 2013. 2014 put stops in Asia, East and Southern Africa, Australia, and New Zealand in the logbook. His visit to Japan was this year before the last little jaunt here to Oshkosh.

Peier has maintained an extensive blog, complete with many photos, about his journey. The blog can be accessed at travelpod.com by searching Around the World with Wings & Wheels.
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