Friday, March 10, 2006

Stig E.B. Holmstrom 1940-

Stig was born on the 4th October 1940 in Oskarshamn, Sweden. He joined the Swedish Air Force in August 1959 for Basic Flying Training at F5, the Military Flying School in Ljungbyhed,flying the single engine prop trainer, Saab Safir and, as an advanced jet trainer, the de Havilland Vampire. His flying training was completed in July 1960 when he received his “Wings”.

He was then assigned to the fighter Wing, F3 in Linköping for operational training on the Saab 29 “Flying Barrel”. At F3 he was also checked out on the prop tail dragger, Harvard. After Officers School in Uppsala he became a Second Lieutenant in 1965 and was transferred to F10 in Ängelholm where he flew the Saab 35 Draken at an operational squadron for two years.

In 1967 he was promoted to Lieutenant and assigned to the Military Flight Test Centre in Malmslätt for test pilot training. It was pretty much “on-the-job training” and soon he was peforming production test flying on the Draken and Saab 105, a twin engine jet trainer and light attack aircraft. In 1969 he flew the new Saab 37 Viggen for the first time and was after that involved in various kind of test flying on that type for many years.

After attending staff courses at the Defence College in Stockholm he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and returned to the Flight Test Centre in Malmslätt where he became the Chief Test Pilot in 1979. He was then heavily involved in the main flight test programme at that time which was on the Interceptor version of the Viggen (JA37).

Stig´s military career called for him to do staff job as well, and he spent two years 1982-84 in the Air Force Staff in Stockholm doing planning job for the newly decided JAS39 Gripen project. In late 1984 he joined Saab Aircraft Division in Linköping where he became Chief Test Pilot and totally focused on the development test work on the new multi-role Gripen programme. During this period he went through several combined training and in-flight-simulation activities at Calspan in Buffalo, NY.

Then, on the 9th of December 1988 he took the first JAS39 Gripen Test Aircraft, 39-1 to the skies from the Saab field in Linköping.

After completion of active military test flying, Stig remained within the Saab Company, promoting marketing and sales of Gripen on the international market. He was stationed in South Africa between 2004 and 2006 to liaise with the Launch Customer of Gripen, the South African Air Force.

Stig is a fellow of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, SETP and is also the Grand Master of the Gripen Order, which is a Brotherhood for those who have flown the Gripen.

He has flown some 4200 flight hours in some 25 different aircraft, mostly military and still enjoys to fly smaller planes for fun.