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In an interview with Norrbottensaffarer.se, Swedish Air Force fighter pilot Henrik Björling explains how it feels like to fly a Gripen fighter.

“Gripen is my favorite fighter. It's an airplane built for the pilot. It's easy to fly and perform in,” he says.

Talking about how a regular day at work looks like, Björling says that it starts early. At first, there is a meeting with the Project Manager to discuss the flight plans of the day. This is followed by some test flights, desktop work, regular training processes etc. 

Björling understands that people are impressed with his profession, but he has his feet firmly planted on the ground. “Movies and games paint a glamorous picture. In reality, we are ordinary people who are lucky enough to fly a Gripen during our working hours,” he says.

Read the full story here.

Visitor at the Slovak International Air Festival (SIAF) watched the performance of  the top Czech Air Force display pilot, Captain Ivo Kardoš this year.​ The aerial display was the highlight of the festival. 

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"Gripen is the best choice for the Czech Republic," says Czech display pilot Captain Ivo Kardoše. In an interview with a local publication, he talks about his experience of flying at a recent airshow in Hradec Kralove.

Kardoše says that if one has to compare the cost and performance, Gripen is the best aircraft. It is not expensive to operate and does the same job as other advanced fighters.

About his performance at the Hradec air show, he says that the kind of demonstration a display pilot chooses for an airshow depends a lot on the weather. In Hradec, weather posed a few challenges but vertical maneuvers were still possible, so he chose a longer set. Also, a display pilot tries to demonstrate a combination of the aircraft features. The lowest altitude at which a non-maneuvering flight can be conducted is about 2km above ground. “For safety reasons, we cannot demonstrate the maximum capabilities of an aircraft at airshows," he says.  

On being asked what he likes more, performing at airshows or participating in foreign missions, Kardoše says both are great experiences. 

“It's hard to compare, everybody has their own preferences though. It was nice in Iceland, but the air shows have their magic too. A pilot just wants to fly,” he says.

Read the full story here.

gripen_siaf2017.jpegCzech Air Force airmen and their Gripen aircraft attended NATO Tiger Meet 2017 in Landivisiau, France. They were placed second in the concours d’Elegance for the best camouflage with Gripen in the “Tiger design.​

Visitors to the Slovak International Air Festival (SIAF) on August 26-27 in Slovakia can expect an exciting program. The highlight of the show will be a flight demonstration of the Gripen supersonic jet fighter by the top Czech Air Force display pilot, Captain Ivo Kardoš.

Captain Kardoš recently won one of the most prestigious international display awards. He beat an international competition at one of the world's largest air shows, the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford, Britain. Kardoš beat more than 60 pilots – which is quite an achievement given that he became a display pilot only at the beginning of this year. He also demonstrated his excellent flying skills at another air show - RNAS Yeovilton, Britain, where he won an award for his performance again.

We asked a few questions to Captain Ivo Kardoš.

What is the main role of a display pilot?

The main role of a display pilot is to represent the Air Force and to demonstrate his flying skills as well as the capabilities of the aircraft.

Can any Gripen pilot become a display pilot? Or does he need to fulfill certain criteria and undergo special training?

The display pilot is selected from the Gripen squadron pilots. ...

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He got a flying license before a driver's license. SwAF display pilot Henrik Björling talks about his preparations for Sweden's Flying Day on 26 August.

Henrik, 36, has flown for over half of life. Among the many aircraft he has flown in the last 18 years, Gripen is his favourite. 

"It is one of the most modern aircraft in the world. It is an aircraft built for the pilot to perform at the highest level," he says.

When asked about his preparations for Sweden's flying Day performance, he says, “The exercise will happen this month. Like any other sport, I exercise daily so that I am all ready to play my role in the display. Just an hour before my flight, I stop talking and start with my mental preparation. I review the entire program visually. I check the weather – if it is sunny, windy and so on. And then I get on the plane and just do it!”

Read the full story here.

Image Courtesy: Forsvarsmakten​

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Czech display pilot Captain Ivo Kardoše from the 211 Squadron of the 21st Tactical Air Force Base Čáslav, has won awards for his performances at airshows like Yeovilton and Fairford.

At the Yeovilton Air Day 2017, which was held on 8 July, about 40,000 visitors got the opportunity to watch the Czech pilot in the air. After a week, Kardoše performed at the RIAT 2017, one of the world's largest airshows. 

The weather was not very good for a flying display, so Kardoše had to make some last minute changes. "I had to choose a variant of the demonstration with lower flight levels and adapt it to the current meteorological situation," he says. Despite the challenges, the Czech test pilot won the award for the best flying demonstration by an overseas participant.

Read the full storyhere.

Image Courtesy: Afbcaslav.cz​

Saab test pilot Marcus Wandt explains how he prepared for Gripen E's first flight.​

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At 10:32 on 15 June 2017, Gripen E took off on its maiden flight, flown by a Saab test pilot. The aircraft (designation 39-8) left from Saab’s airfield in Linköping, Sweden and flew over the eastern parts of Östergötland for 40 minutes. During the flight, the aircraft carried out a number of actions to demonstrate various test criteria including the retracting and extending of the landing gear.

“The flight was just as expected, with the aircraft performance matching the experience in our simulations. Its acceleration performance is impressive with smooth handling. Needless to say, I’m very happy to have piloted this maiden flight,” says Marcus Wandt, Experimental Test Pilot, Saab.

Read more here.

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Captain Ivo Kardoš from the 211th Tactical Squadron at Čáslav Air base won the award for the best flying demonstration by an overseas participant at RIAT 2017. The performance was judged to be a "consistently well flown and accurate fast jet demonstration" during the airshow.

"It was a wonderful, amazing airshow," says Kardoš. "It was the best one I've ever been to. Of course, it's a great honour to win the prize and to represent Gripen and Saab." 

RIAT is one of the largest military airshows in the world. Held at RAF Fairford in Gloucestshoire every year, the airshow gets a participation of fast jets, giant transporters, historic aircraft etc. from around the world.

RIAT 2017 was held between 14 and 17 July.

At LIMA 2017, an RTAF Gripen Fighter performed aerial displays for the audience. Here are a few images chronicling the performance.

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Getting ready for the flight
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Engineers getting the aircraft ready for the display
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The Malaysian Defence Minister with the RTAF Gripen display team

Photo credit: Richard Cooper @COAPPhoto​​
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