Airshow memory

On Saturday June 6, 1953, 57 years ago, there was a very big airshow over central Stockholm in Sweden. The city was celebrating its 700 years birthday. Leif, my twin brother, and I was on a hill top, Observatorielunden in the city center, staring with big eyes up in the sky. A huge Royal Swedish Airforce fleet of more than 600 (!) airplanes was flying in all kind of formations. Being nine years old at that time this sight was burned into our memories. (Photos by Yngve Norrvi)

I do specially remember this little airplane tumbling above our heads. It was Lilldraken SAAB 210 making its public debut. A scaled-down jet fighter testbed for the double-delta concept in the development of the SAAB 35 Draken. The wingspan was 4.9 m and length 9.1 m. Top speed was 650 km/h. How to build a 1/72 scale resin model of Lilldraken see video here. (Photos copyright SAAB AB)

After this show we became very interested in airplanes, building models etc.. My brother became so much interested that when grown up he did enroll the Royal Swedish Airforce and became a jet fighter pilot. Then with the up-scaled version of Lilldraken, the Draken SAAB 35.  The first Draken prototype, not fitted with an afterburner, made its maiden flight on 25 October 1955. The second prototype, equipped with an afterburner, unintentionally broke the sound barrier on its first flight while climbing! The wingspan was 9.4 m, length 15.4 m, top speed 2,121 km /h and service ceiling 20,000 m. An interesting marketing movie from the 60´s can be seen here. One movie sequence shows a human centrifuge in operation at the hospital Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm. My brother and I had the opportunity at that time to test the centrifuge. I think we reached almost 4 G. (Photos copyright SAAB AB)


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