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A Gripen jet fighter during a flying display.

SwAF Gripen Display Pilot Retires After Nine Years

2 min read

Maj. Peter Fällén, a Gripen Display pilot for more than nine years, has now decided to move on. Here's a look back at his journey over the years and his experience of flying two Saab fighters - Gripen and Viggen.


A known name in the world of military aviation, Maj. Fällén has been a pilot for more than 23 years. He has also been a Deputy Commander of 71 Squadron, F7 Wing Såtenäs. Popularly known as 'Starbutt', Maj. Fällén is an Order of the Knight Gripen pilot with more than 1,000 hours of flying experience under his belt.

"Gripen has been designed to operate even from road bases and short airstrips. The aircraft is built to be a war machine," Maj. Fällén said during his participation at the 2019 Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire. At the same event, he also referred to the meteor missile on Gripen as a "real game-changer”. Highlighting Gripen's capabilities, he said, "Since Gripen is a multi-role aircraft, when it is airborne, the enemy doesn't know what to expect. Gripen can be an air-to-air fighter as well as an air-to-ground fighter, or both."

Maj. Fällén is also an Order of the Knight Viggen pilot. He used to fly the JA 37 C/D version of the Viggen fighter. Remembering Viggen fondly, he says,"Viggen was a great aircraft to fly. It was a big aircraft, and according to me, it was one of the best fighters ever," he said.