Air Show Report : Göteborg Air Show 2010
The Göteborg Aero Show 2010 celebrated the 100th anniversary of Swedish Aviation on 29 & 30 August. Ramon van Opdorp reports and provides these photos of the air show.
100 Years Swedish Aviation
With the first motorized flight in Sweden by Carl Cederström in 1910, the rich history of Swedish aviation was born. From this point on aviation in Sweden took flight, with the well known aircraft manufacture Saab as the spearhead in this branch.
The annual Aero Show at Göteborg City Airport, between 29 & 30 August, once again brought a dazzling display of aircraft, both historic and modern to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Swedish Aviation.
Swedish Aviation History
On 24 August 1910 Carl Cederström was the first Swedish aviator to fly in Sweden in a French build Blériot XI. Also in 1910, the first Swedish built aircraft, the Grasshopper, took flight. This plane was a modified Blériot XI built in Landskrona in southern Sweden by Hjalmar Nyrop and Oscar Ask. Another Swedish built aircraft was made by the FFV “Swedish Air Force Aircraft Factory” called the Tummeliten (Little Tom Thumb), or better known as Tummelisa, his female counterpart. The aircraft was constructed in 1919, and replaced the slow and heavy Albatross aircraft.
At the break of the first World War, the Air Force of neutral Sweden had only eight aircraft available, which had only reconnaissance tasks. In between the two World Wars, the Swedish Air Force was only slowly growing and developing. Although Sweden managed to stay out of the second World War, the defence forces were on alert status and desperately tried to re-arm, while being cut off from imports. The Swedish government took the decision to reorganize the military aviation industry by merging the ASJA “AB Svenska Järnvägsverkstädernas Aeroplanavdelning” company located in Linköping and the Saab “Svenska Aeroplan AB” company in Trollhättan. During the first years of the “new” company Saab, two types of aircraft were built under license (Junkers Ju 86 and the Northrop A-1). The first original Saab built aircraft, the B 17, was born in 1940. The aircraft's design was actually started by ASJA in the 1930s as the L10 before the merger. The Saab 17 was built as a (dive) bomber and reconnaissance aircraft, which had a very unique feature in the dive bomber role: the retractable gear covers were also used as dive brakes.
By the start of the second world war the Saab factory was working over time, as new aircraft could hardly be acquired from foreign countries. Production started for the Saab B 18 a twin engine bomber and reconnaissance aircraft, and the Saab J 21 a twin boom pusher configuration fighter/attack aircraft. And last but not least the Saab J 22 was ordered into production, a smaller single engine fighter aircraft. A separate company was established for this aircraft, as the main facility was already running at full capacity building the Saab 18 and Saab 21.
By the end of the second World War, all squadrons had sufficient aircraft to perform their tasks, and Saab could focus on developing aircraft that could match the types already on the drawing boards of US and UK aircraft manufactures. With the start of the jet engine age, the first jet engine powered aircraft build by Saab was the J 29 Tunnan or “Flying Barrel”, the first swept-back aircraft build by Saab, and one of his kind in Europe. The Tunnan was introduced in 1950 and saw operation with the Swedish and Austrian Air Force, and operating for the UN in Congo. The Tunnan was shortly followed by the Saab J 32 Lansen, this two seat attack aircraft had one of the longest service life within the Swedish Air Force, from 1955 till 1997. Only used for the training role, the Saab 105 was built specificially for the Swedish Air Force, however 40 of these aircraft were also sold to Austria. This aircraft is also flown by the Swedish Air Force display team “Team 60”.
After the Lansen, two aircraft followed that put Saab on the world's stage, both for fighter exports and the successful deltawing designs. The first of these two aircraft was the Saab J 35 Draken, the double-delta J 35 was an effective supersonic Cold War fighter that was also successful as an export product. As it was operated by Air Forces from Sweden, Denmark, Austria, Finland. The second aircraft that came from the Saab drawing board was the Saab 37 Viggen, this medium-range fighter and attack aircraft equipped solely the Swedish Air Force in several variants. The design of the Viggen had a characterized feature not seen on contemporary fighters. The Viggen had large delta-shaped wings with two higher mounted canards and four wheel main gear, with each pair in tandem.
To date the best export product of Saab is still winning many hearts as we speak, with the JAS 39 Gripen lightweight multi-role fighter aircraft. The Gripen is already operated by the Air Forces from Sweden, Czech Republic, Hungary and South Africa and being delivered to Thailand at this time. While other countries are still searching for a replacement aircraft, or revaluating their decisions.
Anniversary Air Show
During the weekend of 29 & 30 August, the small local “city airport” near Gothenburg was host of the 100th anniversary of Swedish Aviation. For this occasion a rare list of aircraft was invited by the Aero Museum, the organizers of this event, with the Swedish Historical Flight as one of the main highlights. Almost the complete collection of jet powered Saab aircraft is still in airworthy condition, this was first of all a rare sight and most of all a great tribute to this 100th anniversary. All Saab built aircraft like the Draken, Lansen, Tunnan, Saab 105 and the Gripen flew solo displays as well as a formation flight at the end of the Sunday display. Two other Saab built aircraft could sadly not make it to the show. The Viggen was ready to go, however still waiting on paperwork, and the Saab B 17 was grounded due to a immediate engine replacement.
An aircraft that stole my heart was the beautiful Saab J 32 Lansen. When I entered the airshow grounds the Lansen was put away in a corner of the South tarmac, and especially with the worn color scheme, I thought it was a gate guard or something like that. Until the canopy was opened and the engine started. With Alf Ingesson-Thor at the controls, a more than impressive display was flown on both days.
International acts present at the show, was the PC-7 Team from Switzerland, operating as the team name suggests, nine Pilatus PC-7s. From Italy the famous Frecce Tricolori was present in their 50th anniversary year, and never fail to impress with the large formation of ten Aermacchi MB-339s. At Neighbor country Denmark was present with the F-16 Solo Display team, and the Baby Blue team adding a little bit more Swedish aviation to the show, as they operate four Saab MFI-17 Supporters.
Besides the Saab produced aircraft, did also some other aircraft participate in the show that have flown for the Swedish Air Force. Like for example the Hawker Hunter, deHaviland Vampire, Tiger Moth, and Bulldog. With for me the two Harvards as one of the most surprising acts, especially the Harvard “SE-FUD” with Thomas Schau Damm in the cockpit made a more than impressive “low” show. With some surprising “sneak passes” from behind the crowd.
Aircraft and helicopters still in active duty within the Swedish Air Force flew also display or fly pasts, like the Hercules and the Agusta A-109. One of the stars of the show made her last flight ever, a HKP 4 Sea Knight made one fly by and landed in front of the Aero Museum. This helicopter will become one of the main attractions for the museum. As this was her last flight ever, I had hoped actually on a little bit more from the arrival, instead of the straight in landing.
The Aero Museum
Organizer of the show is the Aero Museum, which is located inside a shelter, carved into the rocky landscape. The site consists of two rock shelters, one 8000 square meters and one 22000 square meters shelter. Build in the 1950s 30 meters underground as protection for a nuclear attack during the cold war, holds it now a impressive collection of aircraft. Which added some more aircraft flown by the Swedish Air Force over the years, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Swedish Aviation.
Most interesting part of the Aero Museum, is that is not just a museum. But also acting as a home for several airworthy aircraft, and the possibilities to maintain and renovate several types of aircraft. With of course the large fleet of the Swedish Historical Flight aircraft as the best example.
Each year I’m searching for new aircraft to photograph in their natural surroundings, and with this airshow I hit the jackpot. As the Draken and Tunnan are awesome aircraft to see, and most of all the Lansen made a big impression on me. This aircraft takes you back in time, with the worn color scheme and the awesome look/shape of the aircraft, it actually has a little F-105 Thunderchief look.
As I hope that the two seat Draken and the Viggen will be airborne shortly, is this show surely on my to do list in the near future. Besides the beautiful and relaxed country it is hosted in.
Report and photos by Ramon van Opdorp ( view portfolio )