Abenteuer Flug

from 1992 to 1993


‘Nothing in the world is as powerful as an idea,
whose time has come. ’

Victor Hugo

The Idea

to fly around the world came after I received my  PPL, my private pilot license. I was flying in a Cessna 172 from Long Beach to San Francisco. Looking down at the beautiful world below me at low altitude, my flying adventure was born. “Why not fly a small airplane around the world? Have a look at the world from a birds eye view?” I have driven the world in my campers before, why not fly an airplane now. During the preparation for this flight I was greatly inspired by Sir Francis Chichester’s book Solo to Sidney. I read many other books about adventurous flights, but Sir Francis his spirit of ‘I can do it’ inspired me the most.

I started

this eastbound flying adventure in May of 1992. My airplane of choice was a Maule M5-180 tail dragger. By that time I had only 249 flying hours in my logbook. But I was determined to hold on to my dream, an air adventure around-the-world.
The vastness of my project numbed me on the day of my departure from Long Beach, California. Fighting the doubts, as sudden warning voices came out of nowhere, I fired up the engine, took off and landed after only 50 miles at a girlfriends place in Riverside. Not far at all, but I had taken my first step. I was on my way.

Flying and skydiving

across the USA gave me the much needed flying experience. I hopped from one skydiving drop zone to another. Enjoying flying and skydiving. Drop zone pilots shared their experience with me and directed me to some of the most beautiful situated airports across the USA. With their experience I planned the flight over New York City at low altitude. Flying through the Special Flight Rule Area along the Hudson River, with the World Trade Center next to my wings. The flight was a sensational experience.  Suddenly, I felt like a real pilot.

The Atlantic Crossing

started in the north of Canada, at the Ungava Bay. After the long distance flights over the Tundra, the engine sounded different over the big waters of the Atlantic. My landing in Greenland, Godhab, was fogged in and I had to divert to Soendre Stroemfjord. The Flying Club invited me to a fly-out and the landing in the riverbed of the Paradise Valley was an exiting highlight. Flying over the permanent ice of Greenland was a tough challenge, but I was rewarded with an exceptional view of glaciers and icebergs on the eastern coast.
Bad weather between Island and England had me almost ditch my airplane. My engineering mind had to work overtime. I made it safely to England and into the arms of the Secret Service.


from the air is very beautiful. It’s like flying over fairy tale countries. I followed roads, rivers and valleys. I visited medieval castles and historical towns. The Iron Curtain was down and a flight to East-Berlin possible.  The Russian soldiers waved to me from their Garrisons as I gave them a low level buzz.
The flight over the Alps was a cloud-dodging run through the valleys, avoiding the peaks. Venice was at sunset under my wing. Followed by a dinner at the Piazza in Bologna with the excellent Italian cuisine. The island of Karpathos was my choice of the many beautiful islands in my view. It was feet up and Rezina time in Levkos Bay.

Flying through the Middle East

was a nightmare. The problem was to obtain all necessary landing and over-fly permissions. The FAA’s just ignored my requests. Thus, I ignored their requests and made it in a secret mission to Yemen. I was welcomed to Yemen and rewarded with an inside look into their Qat culture and ancient history. Oman had a helpful understanding of small aircraft flying and I my Indian Ocean crossing was easy.


began with my landing in Bombay. Immediately I was caught in the bureaucracy of India. Paperwork and hassle, wherever I wanted to fly. It took me one full day to get the airplane filled with 80 Gallons of fuel. After three weeks hassle in India, I got rewarded for all the hard times, with a flight to the Kingdom of Nepal. There in the Himalayas, the Yin and Yang culture gave me back my harmony. In Thailand, the Kingdom of Smiles, my enjoyable flights through Asia began. The golden Temples under my wings brightened my eyes and the incents smell all around me on land soothed my mind. In Malaysia and Singapore I felt their European heritage and saw their Chinese future. Green islands under my wings, as far as my eyes could see, began in Indonesia. On the beautiful island of Bali I relaxed in colors and peace.


was the friendliest continent on my journey. Every flight was a new adventure, ending in a warm welcome wherever I landed. Whether I landed on a lonesome airport, on a sheep pasture or a farmer’s field. The Australians were always helpful and had a Cup of Tea for me. When I left Australia, after four month roaming the continent, I was the ‘free Bird’ I always wanted to be.

The Pacific Crossing

and island hopping started in Papua New Guinea. On the first day I got robed in Port Moresby. But in the week that followed my hardship was blown away by other pilots. I enjoyed exciting jungle flights through the mountains and islands of PNG. I saw Rabaul, the ‘Pearl of the South Pacific’, from the top of the Matupit Volcano. The same volcano that destroyed the city a year later. Bad weather over the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu had me almost ditch the airplane. Sunshine came again in Fiji and Tonga and with it the singing and swinging of the South Pacific.
The big jumps home started in Samoa with a 15 ½ hour flight to Kiribati, followed by a 11 ½ hour flight to Hilo, Hawaii.

The last jump, the Impossible Flight of 2150 Nautical Miles from Hilo, Hawaii, to Long Beach, California, took me 21 ½ hours.



After 432.5 flying hours, and a year later,
I had flown around the world.



The ‘Top-Ten’ list of my flight:


1. Longest flight:

21.4 hours, from Hilo, Hawaii, across the Pacific Ocean to Long Beach, California — the longest flight in both distance and duration.

2. Shortest flight:

One minute, from takeoff to touchdown, from Kagi to Efogi (3700 ft.), two jungle airstrips in the mountains of Papua New Guinea. The straight-out departure from Kagi was the base leg for Efogi.      

3. Most on-time departure:

From Bangkok, Thailand, at exactly 12:00 as filed. Taxiing between two 747s, the Maule looked like a mosquito between two giant elephants.

4. Most delayed departure:

A 3-hour delay in Katmandu, Nepal, because of a missing fee collector — in spite of the fact that everything had been arranged the day before.

5. Highest flight:

At 11,500 feet, crossing the Rocky Mountains near Albuquerque, New Mexico, while trying desperately to stay out of clear-air turbulence.

6. Lowest flight:

At 50+ feet above roads and railways along the Stuart Highway in Australia. On my way from Darwin to Sydney.

7. Most enjoyable flight:

Everywhere I went in Australia, flying in the outback by road map and landing in pastures and private air strips. Australia has plenty of space to play around in, and the people are very friendly and hospitable.

8. Most frustrating flight:

Everywhere I went in India. The paperwork before and after each flight is more trying than the actual flying, and they talk, demand, direct and restrict you more than you can imagine.

9. Longest runway:

The 11,438-foot-long by 300-foot-wide runway at Bangor, Maine — it was wide enough for a Maule to land or take off, crosswise.

10. Shortest runway:

A 500-foot grass strip at the Maule dealership in Little Hartley, Australia. Usable in one direction only; with no go-around option; in the middle of the Blue Mountains.