Håkan Buskhe has only been CEO of Saab for one and a half months but he has already travelled the globe marketing Gripen to several countries. Yesterday, Mr Buskhe got his first flight in the Gripen fighter, taking-off from the Saab airfield in Linköping, Sweden.
The flight, in a Gripen D (39827) lasted for 1 hour and 8 minutes, with Ola Rignell, head of Saab Flight Test in the front seat. That included two sorties with a hot refuelling in between.
Image: Ola Rignell, head of Saab Flight Test, congratulates Saab's new CEO Håkan Buskhe (right) after his first flight in Gripen. Photo: Per Kustvik
“I’m living my childhood dream right now, and the flight in Gripen was just the icing on the cake. I´ve been briefed by the engineers that design the aircraft, visited the different stages of production and talked to some of the fantastic people that build the aircraft and now I’ve spent time at our Flight Test department. And remember, Gripen is just one of our world leading products.”
Håkan Buskhe had the opportunity to pilot the aircraft himself. He was also fortunate to meet up with one of the brand new Gripen aircraft produced for the Royal Thai Air Force and took part in formation flying.
“What I remember most is when we were flying 60 feet above the Baltic Sea and then suddenly afterburner on and we were climbing straight up to 30 000 feet. Like a rocket.”
Back on ground again Håkan Buskhe was congratulated by the first Gripen pilot, Stig Holmström, and presented with his own personal desk top model of Gripen D.
“I don’t believe that I’m a pilot just because I have flown Gripen once, but it is amazing how easy it is to understand the system. Especially with a good instructor like Ola. I knew Gripen was an amazing aircraft, and now I understand why.”
Håkan Buskhe has previously flown the Saab 105 jet trainer.