With large ear protections and in shining reflection vests, we slowly walked over the airfield, surrounded by a shining sun and a clear blue sky. The weather gave us a liberating sensation, a much appreciated feeling that can only be experienced on a hot summer day, or at the best, an early spring day like this. Sounds from far distant aircraft engines could be heard, and the wind blew cold across the airfield.
F7 in Såtenäs is a vast and magnificent airfield situated right at the feet of Vänern. Guided by two veteran pilots, Håkan Brandt and Dag Kjellberg who have had several flight hours with airplanes such as the legendary Viggen airplane, we waited for three incoming JAS-aircrafts.
F7 is one of four remaining Swedish Air Force squadrons (F7 Skaraborg, F17 Blekinge, F21 Norrbotten and LSS Air Combat School). Air force military units today focus on both national and international operations, and should therefore be prepared to participate in military operations abroad with UN consensus. The Air force is divided into several ground management units and air units, and one does not work without the other. Operators and flight engineers play an equally important part as the pilots themselves.
From southeast, in something called an “echelon formation” three JAS-aircrafts come flying in towards the airfield. One after another, at a safe distance from each other, they started a circular movement in towards the runway. A few hundred meters down, a Hercules aircraft was about to lift, which together with the JAS-aircrafts and the wonderful weather composed a magnificent scenery. When the aircrafts had landed and docked with their different ground-stations, we followed along the personnel performing the routine inspections. The smell of hot RM12, oil and kerosene was imminent.
The tour of the area continued and after a well-placed lunch we tested the flight-simulators. As for us trainees, we will soon have about half an hour each in different JAS-simulators, both from the ones at Linköping Air Force Museum and at SAAB, and to be fairly honest, we will soon be able to fly a JAS gripen ourselves. The tour ended with a brief introduction to the Swedish Air Force history, and we had the pleasure to take a closer look on airplanes such as Viggen, Draken and Tunnan. Both Håkan and Dag shared some of their memories and highlights from their careers, which was amusing I tell you. For those of you who are interested, in the image below is brief summary of the Swedish Air Force history.
My grandfather’s brother, Jan Ingemar Holmquist was a fighter pilot in the 50s, at the brink of the Cold War. The story goes that he during a flight training session with a Vampire J28 in 1952, December 11, 21 years old, collided with another airplane. As a result, both planes involved crashed. Thanks to Hans Brandt, I received access to the report from the commission of inquiry. So, in the next post you’ll find out more about what really happened on that cold winter day in 1952, and what happened to the two pilots. See you later! 🙂