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Changing Place for a Swedish-Style Overhaul

Szöveg: Maj. Gergely Gróf |  2013. április 21. 14:17

The time has come for the Gripens of Kecskemét to undergo their first major planned overhaul. The first such industrial-level overhaul is carried out on the JAS-39s on completing their 800th flight hour.


This April the pilots of Kecskemét already flew the fourth Gripen to Sweden, and two days
later they flew home another JAS-39D aircraft which had been brought there for overhaul in
January. Currently both Delta (two-seater) Gripens are stationed on Kecskemét Air Base and
have undergone the overhaul. This is the result of a thorough, pre-planned process in which
the aviation unit maintenance (AVUM) battalion of the base has an important responsibility,
as it must predict, one year in advance for each aircraft, when they will log the pre-set 800 th
flight hour. To make sure that all fighters can be flown to Sweden and back to Hungary with
the least logistic organization possible, the unit tries to schedule their reaching of this limit
within a single week.

During their four-day stay abroad, the Hungarian aircraft maintenance technicians – who
fly to Sweden by an An-26 – receive the Gripen to undergo overhaul, hand its papers to
the Swedish experts, and then immediately take from them the papers of a Gripen which is
already there and has undergone overhaul after 800 flight hours. Usually a qualified test pilot
flies the aircraft to Sweden so that next day he can carry out the test program of the aircraft to
be taken home. As a rule, this consists of one or two take-offs, and if everything is found to be
in order, he can return it to Kecskemét the following day.


The overhaul after 800 hours takes place on the base of the F7 Wing in Satenas, where the
Swedish experts carry out an overhaul on the same level as it is done by the SAAB aircraft
factory in Linköping. During the work, first and foremost they check the airframe of the
aircraft, the condition of the load-bearing elements, the built-in upgrades and modifications in
ten weeks. Meeting the deadlines is important because in addition to the Hungarian Gripens,
the Czech ones also undergo overhaul here. The late arrival of a single aircraft would disrupt
the strict schedule which has been drawn up one year ahead.

To make sure that the airmen can keep to the timetable at home in Hungary, they “stage" all
aircraft in advance so they will complete the 800th flight hour by the planned deadline. This
is based on the synchronization of the AVUM battalion with the fighter squadrons so that the
aircraft can be flown on schedule. The airmen of Kecskemét have the advantage of having a
thorough knowledge of the F7 base, its airspace and procedures, since all Gripen pilots have
received type conversion training for the JAS-39 aircraft here in Satenas since 2005 to the
present day.


Photo: HDF 59th “Szentgyörgyi Dezső" Air Base