40 years operation of the SK60 aircraft in Austria was celebrated during the summer with up to 400 invited guests. Attendees included representatives from government agencies and headquarters, as well as pilots, engineers and technicians.
Saab 105 is the name given to the export version of the SK60. In Austria the aircraft is called the Saab 105 OE, where after 40 years of operation it continues to be regarded as a cornerstone of the Austrian Air Force (Luftstreitkräfte). The Saab 105 OE is used partly for pilot training, as well as for aerial surveillance, target towing, plus various types of measurement flights, such as those made of the recent volcanic ash cloud. The aircraft is also used for aerial displays and VIP transport. Originally, there were 40 aircraft in total, which represented a massive deal for Saab at that time. Today, 22 of the aircraft are operational with a combined total flight time of about 1,500 flying hours per year.
Image: A fine Kanevad model of the Saab 105 OE was presented during the lavish ceremony.
Summer celebration attended by 400 guests
Among those present to celebrate the 40th anniversary on 1 July this year at the Hörsching air base outside Linz were Kenneth Brandin and Martin Schabbauer from Saab's Support and Services business area. Together with up to 400 guests, they had been invited to the summer reception held in one of the hangers. Guests included one of the pilots who flew one of the first three planes from Tannefors in Linköping to Hörshing. Today he is 91 years of age and still going strong. Also present were representatives from government agencies and headquarters, as well as pilots, engineers and technicians. There were many proud speakers, including the commanding officer and wing commander, both of whom paid tribute to the aircraft itself and to all those who are essential for keeping an aircraft system in operation. As representative for the industry and for Saab, Martin was also given the opportunity to offer thanks for 40 years of teamwork, and to emphasise the willingness to continue the collaboration up to at least 2020.
The stripes never fade
One of the evening's main features, besides the customary traditional marching band, was an aerial display performed by a display pilot code-named Lucky. The display aircraft he flew came from a division that carries a tiger as its symbol, and it had been newly decorated with tiger stripes. It was an impressive display and Lucky explained afterwards that he chose the high altitude programme to really demonstrate what the aircraft is capable of.
"Later that evening, we were told that the 105 continues to be regarded as one of the world's best training aircraft in view of its powerful thrust. We also received very positive feedback about the good availability and reliability they have experienced over many years," says Martin Schabbauer.
Image: The pilot showed what the aircraft is capable of during the aerial display.
In addition to the 105, Saab has also supplied Safir, Tunnan and Draken aircraft to Austria.
"We are very proud of this and we are dedicated to supporting the Austrians in the operation of their 105s. This is contractually regulated through a Technical Assistance Agreement, which we expect to extend successively up to 2020. In addition, we are discussing new contracts, such as the digitization of maintenance records as well as smaller modifications and cooperation within training."
"I would also like to take the opportunity to thank everyone at Saab who is working to support one of Saab's successful export ventures. A great deal of work is needed to keep a system airborne for 40 years, and we are now looking at another exciting 10-year period ahead of us," concludes Martin Schabbauer.