Pilot flew raided plane as far as the Philippines

Police guard the plane at Albion Park airport on Thursday. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER
Police guard the plane at Albion Park airport on Thursday. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER

The pilot who flew the plane raided at Illawarra Regional Airport from the United States to the Philippines has moved to distance himself from a police investigation into the aircraft.

Police from the Middle Eastern Organised Crime squad co-ordinated the Albion Park raid on Tuesday evening and Wednesday, and were seen removing items from the American-owned Swearingen Merlin 3.

On Thursday evening, a post on the Facebook page of Australian aircraft ferrying company Snow Goose International revealed details of the plane's journey around the edge of the Pacific.

The company said it was contracted by Oregonian Aeroclub LLC to ferry the Swearingen Merlin aircraft from the US to the Philippines.

The aircraft was initially collected in Florida and flew through Texas, New Mexico, California, Washington, Alaska and Hawaii before ending up at Clark International Airport in the Philippines.

The post, written about 5.30pm, makes it clear "the contract between Snow Goose International and the [plane's] owner was completed" once the aircraft arrived in the Philippines.

"At all times the aircraft flights were planned and approved by the appropriate authorities. Communication was always maintained ... in accordance with international requirements," it said.

During the journey, the pilot, David Baddams, was pictured on the Facebook site with Tarrawanna man Bernhard Stevermuer.

The two men were photographed together before the plane was pictured in Cold Bay, Alaska.

It remains unclear who flew the plane to Australia, however the Snow Goose International Facebook page said it was continuing from the Philippines "with the owner".

According to aircraft tracking records, there was no contact between it and an aircraft control tower between the Philippines and Coffs Harbour, where it arrived early on the afternoon of Friday, June 27. From there it flew to Illawarra Regional Airport.

The plane remained under police guard at Albion Park on Thursday morning, with the police tight-lipped about their investigations.

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