Captain Anna Dellham recently completed her first Gripen solo flight to become the first female Gripen pilot in the Swedish Air Force.
Captain Anna Dellham becomes the first female Gripen pilot in the
Swedish Air Force. Photo: Swedish Armed Forces
In fact, Anna Dellham is Sweden's only female combat pilot whatsoever. She was awarded her wings in the mid-1990s and flew the Viggen until the aircraft was taken out of service before going onto fly the SK 60. She now works with Gripen's development at FTS, the Aeronautical Command of the Air Force Headquarters.
So what does she think about being the country's only female combat pilot? In the Swedish Defence Recruitment Agency's magazine she explains: "I think it is a shame. Flying combat aircraft is extremely special and rewarding. Flying is no harder for a woman than a man. There are no rational arguments why there are not more female combat pilots. It is about coping while your body is subjected to g-forces when flying. Those wanting to become pilots should be in good physical condition, but it isn't necessary to be super-fit."
She has flown in Gripen several times before, but now she has flown solo for the very first time. The flight took off from Skaraborg wing (F7). Initially she will fly the Gripen A/B and will later move on to the C/D version.
"It feels fantastic and this will be by far my best professional year in a more than a decade," says Anna Dellham. "The Gripen system is an extremely good aircraft with excellent flight characteristics."