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In conversation with Gripen fighter pilot

Martin from Swedish Air Force.

Swedish defence and security company, Saab is displaying and flying three of its multirole fighter aircraft ''Gripen'' during eighth edition of the Aero India International Air Show 2011. had an exclusive conversation with the Swedish Air Force pilot Martin Björn during the Aero India 2011. Martin has flown many fighter aircraft and is currently attending the airshow to promote Gripen fighter in India.

Q. What is your opinion about the Saab Gripen fighter aircraft compared to other fighters? For example the Eurofighter Typhoon, F-16, F/A-18, MiG-35 and Rafale who are also competing for the MMRCA contract.

A: The SAAB Gripen is a lightweight single engine multirole fighter aircraft manufactured by the Swedish aerospace company SAAB. The aircraft is the most technologically advanced fighter and is equipped with futuristic warfare technologies developed specifically for India. Gripen has increased fuel capacity, more powerful powerplant, higher payload, upgraded avionics and other improvements. As India already has fighters like Su-30MKI, Gripen will only be an added advantage to the Indian Air Force.

Q. Could you please describe your job and how long you’ve been at it?

A: I have been flying the Gripen fighter aircraft for five years and have logged 5000 flying hours till date. When I’m not blogging or exploring the local area with the family, I’m usually flying missions overseas.

Q. How competitive is the job of a fighter pilot?

A: Extremely. When I first flew a fighter aircraft, the experience was simply awesome. The feeling is unexplainable in mere words. You have to be there to get the real feel of it. It’s thrilling, fun but at the same time challenging also as you to be immensely focused and attentive while taking those rough turns and eye-mesmerising manoeuvres up in the sky.

Q. What is the best part of the job?

A: Two things. Firstly, knowing that you’ve made a valuable contribution every time you fly and secondly, travelling all over the world and experiencing so many different cultures.

Q. Is this your first visit to an airshow in India? How do you rate Aero India with all the rest airshows worldwide?

A: Yes, this is my first visit to India and its really a great experience to be here. I have been to many airshows and participated there. Aero India seems like the biggest airshow in Asia and one of the biggest all around the world. People from all walks of life are coming here every day to view the show with immense interest and joy. Even during the airshow, if you see all around, it’s like a flood. So many people even children all interested in aviation, military aircraft. I am enjoying every moment of it and would love to come for the next show also. The level of enthusiasm of the people here is evident from the point that so many have participated for the Gripen Top Guns contest organised by Saab. The winner will get a chance to fly fighter aircraft in an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It’s really great that Saab is creating an opportunity for people to know more about the aircraft, its history, and technologies behind the product through a unique contest.


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