Safety competition comes to a highflying end

This week one lucky Swedish civilian got the opportunity to realise his childhood dreams of taking to the sky in a Gripen fighter jet. Out of 2000 contestants, Lars won a competition which Saab began back in spring earlier this year.

 

For many people, cars are the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of the Saab brand. But for Saab today, this is a misrepresentation. Although automobiles are a part of the company's proud history, that side of the business was sold in the mid 1990's. Most people remember the cars for their innovative technology and how safe they were, and safety and security is still today a defining part of Saab. Saab engineers work daily to create technology for the defense and security industry that makes the world more secure.

 

Photo: Lars getting dressed in flight gear 

 "A plan was put into place to explore how we could give those people a new impression of Saab. As part of this we wanted to start a conversation with the public on safety and security, and what it means to them" remarked Gustaf Ekelund, Vice President and Head of Brand. A competition was formed and the prize had to be something that could demonstrate Saab's technology in action: A flight in Gripen.

 

Photo: Pilot André showing Lars the flight route 

Fast forward to today, and after thousands of entries, and thousands of perspectives on security, a winner has been selected. Lars Löfdahl who comes from Örebro, Sweden, got the rare chance to do something many people dream of, fly a fighter jet.

Photo: Lars getting into Gripen

After a short introduction to Saab, he had a routine medical examination. This was followed by a briefing from test pilot, André Brännström on what he could expect. "The conditions today are perfect" the seasoned test pilot remarked.

 

And then it was time for the moment Lars had been waiting for. Take off. 

Photo: Lars taking off for the first time in a Gripen

After some time in the sky, cruising over central Sweden, it wasn't long before Lars was back on solid ground. On being asked the question "how was it"? He only had one word, "Amazing".

Photo: Pilot André and Lars after the flight