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Flying during an airshow is a process planned well in advance. From the aerial maneuvers to flight formations to releasing flares and performing duals, every move during a display is tested, verified, approved, rehearsed for months and perfected.

In an interview with Lidovky.cz, Czech Gripen display pilot Ivo Kardoš, winner of the best display award this year at the NATO Days in Ostrava and Air Force Days, talks about his job, and nuances of air displays.

Display flying is not for the faint-hearted. It’s a challenging task that requires a lot of expertise. “An aerial display lasts for only ten minutes. But is exhausting. By the end of it, you can see me sweating like I have run for miles,” he says.

"You have to love your job, or else you cannot do it."

About a standard day at work as a Gripen pilot, Kardoš says it begins with a briefing on the weather and availability of aircraft. Thereafter, pilots get the schedule of their tasks of the day. "We record our flights and analyze it later to see if there is any room for improvement."

Kardoš, who flies at about 15 airshows in a year, says the pilot has to concentrate a lot during a display flight as one has to fly very close to the ground. "We fly at a height of 100-200 yards. There is no time for mistakes. You have to display the same maneuvers you have learnt ...

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A group of 16 fighter pilots, 4 flight controllers and other personnel from the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) recently undertook a week-long course with Gripen simulators at the Swedish Air Force Combat Simulation Centre (FLSC) in Stockholm, Sweden.

The objective of this course, which included theoretical studies in Brazil, was to familiarize pilots with controls in the Gripen cockpit and understand the fighter system before it arrives in the country. During the week-long course, participants had the opportunity to train in complex scenarios and learn basic combat techniques, tactical datalinks and situational awareness using Gripen simulators.

Each pilot attending the course had flown at least 500 hours in a fighter aircraft. During the course, they went from theory to practice almost immediately and the degree of difficulty in the scenarios increased rapidly, ending in a very complex Beyond-Visual-Range (BVR) combat scenario.

“The pilots are able to fly Gripen in the simulators after only an hour here at the course. The advantages of Gripen is not only in its radars, sensors, weapons and other capabilities, but also the outstanding Human Machine Interface (HMI) that makes Gripen easy for the pilot to use and maneuver. This is something that we can see in the simulators as well,” says Colonel Ricardo Rezende, Leader of the Fox team responsible for the operational issues regarding implementation and developing operational concepts of Gripen in Brazil.

Four out of the 16 pilots who attended the course will be chosen as Gripen pilots ...

​Here's another nice video sent by the Hungarian Air Force from the time they trained in Visdel with their MS20 upgraded Gripens.


Thirty years ago, Gripen took off on its very first flight. The designated test pilot was Stig Holmström. Last year test pilot Marcus Wandt took Gripen E on its first flight. The two pilots met up for a chat.

​Here are some photos and an action-packed b-roll video from the first test flight of the second Gripen E test aircraft. Test pilot Robin's smile and thumbs-up says it all!

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How does a first flight on a new aircraft feel like? Straight from the pilot’s mouth. Test pilot Robin tells about the first flight with the second Gripen E test aircraft.

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Pilots and other personnel from the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) have participated in several operational exchange programmes so far to get an understanding of Gripen operations. For example, at a recent visit to Hungary, Major-Brigadier Jefson Borges learned about the latest Saab offerings for Gripen and interacted with Gripen operators as they shared their experiences of working in a combat environment from a tactical and logistical viewpoint.

Before that, Brazilian pilots attended the Lion Effort Exercise 2018 in October. Lion Effort was a great opportunity to see multiple Gripen operators train together, performing air-to-air and air-to-ground missions using BVR and Infrared missiles.

Currently, two FAB officials are travelling to Thailand for a three month training programme where they will understand in detail, the operational challenges, and get a brief on logistics, and support systems as well.

"The learning curve is very huge. In a short span of time, FAB has to be able to adapt to the new systems and use them for different mission scenarios," says Col. Aviador Ricardo Guerra Rezende, President of the Fox Group which is dedicated to the operational management of the Brazilian Gripen programme.

Read the full story here.

Image Source: FAB

It is critical that the person in the cockpit has full confidence in the capabilities of the aircraft. So the opinion of the FAB pilots about Gripen is extremely relevant! 

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Developed to counter and defeat advanced future threats, the Gripen E-series is for customers with more pronounced threats or wider territories to secure. Gripen’s intelligent fighter systems rapidly embrace new tactics, upgrades and situations and give the pilot ample time to make the decisive move.

Gripen E/F is designed to deal with more pronounced threats and wider surveillance areas. This is made possible thanks to the aircraft’s more powerful engine, improved ranged capabilities, and higher payload capability. Some other standout features of Gripen E/F are the highly functional AESA radar, InfraRed Searching and Tracking systems, highly efficient communication systems, high situational awareness, and of course, a state of the art Electronic Warfare System.

Deal With Threats on the Go

Modern battlefields are riddled with unannounced threats – coming from any direction at any time. In cluttered air-spaces, pilots need to be aware and highly reactive, and fighter planes need to be equipped with Integrated Air Defence Systems. The Gripen E/F is not only capable of these requirements, but can deploy active and passive measures to disrupt the enemy’s tactics and functionality. These measures can distract the opponent, make it incapable of sticking to its plan, and annihilate it as well. Gripen E/F is compatible with recent developments of artilleries and missiles. 

Sense the Invisible – Remain Undetected

With radar systems as powerful as the one on Gripen E/F, detection of threats is made several notches easier. The Gripen collects a wealth of data ...

One of the most famous aerial display pilots, Captain Ivo Kardoš, presented a terrific performance for the visitors at the Bucharest International Air Show 2018 in Romania.This year, BIAS commemorated 100 years of the Romanian Air Force. The airshow was held on 28 July.​


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