Tagged: planes

MY FAVOURITE AEROPLANE IN 200 WORDS #31 Saab JAS 39 Gripen by Joanna Sjölander

"My flying experience in Gripen pushed me over the edge forever" Joanna Sjölander

“My flying experience in Gripen pushed me over the edge forever” Joanna Sjölander

I’ve always appreciated machines with plentiful horsepower.

I’ve sighed longingly upon seeing power measured in numbers. Power displayed in courageous designs. I have dreamt about Lamborghinis and Koenigseggs…

…though I usually get more excited about things I can actually get my hands on. So a whole new playground of the mind opened up, when I realised that these objects of desire did not have to be on four wheels: nothing embodied all of these traits better than Gripen.


The more I learned about how it, the more I fell in love. And the more I got involved in its story and shaping its future, the more devoted I was.

My flying experience in Gripen pushed me over the edge forever.

You have no idea how smart and how efficient the design teams at Saab are in their very creative work. As a part of an engineering body, they are constantly calculating and testing the boundaries. In a humble workshop, they sweat away, because they have to. Because there is always limited time, limited resources and limited leverage. But working with limitations is something the Swedes excel at. The result is a handsome beast, with an efficiency that is envied by all. But only a lucky few get to truly enjoy it.

Joanna Sjölander, a dedicated Gripen fan and once in a lifetime Gripen pilot

Coming soon to Hush-Kit, Joanna describes her fantastic Gripen flight in detail.

If you enjoyed this, you may get a thrill from this love letter to Swedish aeroplanes or this Viggen tribute.


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Hush-Kit Top Ten: The ten best-looking Swedish aeroplanes

Hur mår du? Outside of France and the superpowers, Sweden is the only nation that still produces her own fighter aircraft. From Gunnar ‘The Ghost’ to Elsa Andersson, Sweden’s aviators and aircraft have long been made of a special kind of magic. Their aeroplanes have often been technologically advanced, rivalling the best in the world, and it is only  politics (and large price tags) which have stopped them being more widely exported (Allestädes framme får ofta näsbränna!).


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Here is an excuse to ogle at ten wonderful Swedish aeroplanes. If you enjoy this, have  a look at the top ten British, French, Australian,  Soviet and German aeroplanes. Wanting Something a little more exotic? Try the top ten fictional aircraft.

10. Saab 91 Safir

9. Saab 29 Tunnan

8. Svenska Aero Jaktfalken

7. FFVS 22

6. Saab 18


5. Saab 39 Gripen


4. Saab 21R

3. Saab Lansen


2. Saab 37 Viggen

1. Saab 35 Draken

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Viggen love here

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Have a look at 10 worst British military aircraftSu-35 versus Typhoon10 Best fighters of World War II top WVR and BVR fighters of today, an interview with a Super Hornet pilot and a Pacifist’s Guide to Warplanes. Was the Spitfire overrated? Want something more bizarre? The Top Ten fictional aircraft is a fascinating read, as is The Strange Story and The Planet Satellite. The Fashion Versus Aircraft Camo is also a real cracker. Those interested in the Cold Way should read A pilot’s guide to flying and fighting in the Lightning. Those feeling less belligerent may enjoy A pilot’s farewell to the Airbus A340. Looking for something more humorous? Have a look at this F-35 satire and ‘Werner Herzog’s Guide to pusher bi-planes or the Ten most boring aircraft. In the mood for something more offensive? Try the NSFW 10 best looking American airplanes, or the same but for Canadians. 

  If you enjoyed this, have  a look at the top ten British, French, Australian,  Soviet and German aeroplanes. Wanting Something a little more exotic? Try the top ten fictional aircraft.

The top ten Fictional Aircraft


A lot of thought has gone into the fictional aircraft that have appeared in books, films and TV shows. This is a tribute to the clever and imaginative people who have put their aviation know-how to use in producing flying ‘stars’. These aircraft are characters in their own right, and have entered the consciousness of millions. It was hard to select only ten, but here is Hush-Kit’s selection.

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To keep this blog going- allowing us to create new articles- we need donations. We’re trying to do something different with Hush-Kit: give aviation fans something that is both entertaining, surprising and well-informed. Please do help us and click on the donate button above – you can really make a difference (suggested donation £10). You will keep us impartial and without advertisers – and allow us to carry on being naughty. Once you’ve done that we hope you enjoy 10 Incredible Soviet fighter Aircraft that never entered service. A big thank you to all of our readers.

Was the Spitfire overrated? Full story here. A Lightning pilot’s guide to flying and fighting here. Find out the most effective modern fighter aircraft in within-visual and beyond-visual range combat. The greatest fictional aircraft here. An interview with stealth guru Bill Sweetman here. The fashion of aircraft camo here. Interview with a Super Hornet pilot here. Most importantly, a pacifist’s guide to warplanes here. F-35 expose here

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Ridiculous and wonderful, the TSR.2MS is featured in the Japanese cartoon Stratos-4. It is a  mad, rocket-assisted tribute to a real-world cancelled bomber. In Stratos-4 the TSR2.MS is an ultra-fast interceptor, that can be launched from the back of a truck. The creators also considered the CF-105 Arrow for the part! Click here for more on TSR.2

9. AT-99 Scorpion

The AT-99 Scorpion featured in Avatar, and was a chimera of several real-world aircraft. The cockpit is reminiscent of the AH-1W, the weapons are based on real types and the fuselage has elements of the Kiowa. The ducted rotors are an interesting touch, and have featured on several small UAVs as well as flying cars, including the Israeli X-Hawk (which looks like it may have been a muse for the AT-99). The tail is similar to that of the He-162 Salamander. The AT-99 is a fascinating ‘mash-up’.

8.  Blue Thunder

Take a Gazelle helicopter, bolt on a load of prosthetics and you have Blue Thunder. The star of the 1983 film was apparently a dog to fly due to the extra weight required to ‘dress’  it to look like an advanced gunship helicopter.

Keep this blog alive!

To keep this blog going- allowing us to create new articles- we need donations. We’re trying to do something different with Hush-Kit: give aviation fans something that is both entertaining, surprising and well-informed. Please do help us and click on the donate button above – you can really make a difference (suggested donation £10). You will keep us impartial and without advertisers – and allow us to carry on being naughty. Once you’ve done that we hope you enjoy 10 Incredible Soviet fighter Aircraft that never entered service. A big thank you to all of our readers.


7. Angel Interceptor

From the British puppet show Captain Scarlet, the Angel interceptor was a VTOL supersonic fighter. The type has an airspike on the nose (a good idea for hypersonic flight) and a ‘wave-riding’ wing. Clever stuff.

6. Air Wolf


Like Blue Thunder, Air Wolf was another transvestite helicopter (I wish I could think of a good pun to describe that). Air Wolf was a 1980s TV show starring a dressed-up Bell 222. The helicopter was eventually sold after the show ended and became an ambulance helicopter in Germany. Sadly, it crashed in a thunderstorm on June 6, 1992, killing all three on board.

5. F/A-37

The 2005 film Stealth featured the F/A-37 fighter-bomber. The concept is clearly based on the ‘Switchblade’ patent filed by Grumman in 1999 for a Mach 3 capable stealth aircraft. The ‘Switchblade’ used extreme variable-geometry and was a very radical notion. The F/A-37 combines Switchblade-like  features with elements of the YF-23 to produce a visually convincing idea.

4. Mikoyan MiG-37B ‘Ferret-E’

In 1987, the faceted stealth design of the F-117 was highly classified. So, there were some very unhappy people at the Pentagon when model kit maker Testor released their MiG-37. This notional Soviet stealth fighter used a faceted shape to reduce its radar cross-section and a shielding trough to reduce its heat signature, painfully close to the then top-secret F-117. A naughty and well-informed prediction! Click here for the story of Russian stealth.

3. Carreidas 160

Tintin  featured  many wonderful real-world aircraft, including the Arado Ar 196 and de Havilland Mosquito, it also featured one of the very best fictional aeroplanes. The Tintin book Flight 714 featured a Hergé creation, a gloriously well conceived swing-wing supersonic business jet with three engines. Flight 714 came out in 1968, a year before Concorde flew, at a time when supersonic civil aircraft were a very hot topic. The central engine was fed through a bifurcated intake inboard of the outer inlets.

2. Lockheed F-19 Stealth fighter

In the early 1980s, observers found it odd that the F/A-18 was followed by the F-20. What was the F-19? Rumours of secret stealth aircraft were hot gossip at the time. The two exciting ideas were put together leading to the crypto-aeronautical F-19. It appeared in the 1983 ‘Deal Of The Century’ with Chevy Chase as a cranked delta, with outward canted fins. In 1986 Testor released a model kit, of an aircraft with a plectrum shaped blended wing/body and inward-canted fins, this become the archetypal F-19 image. A ‘Northrop-Loral F-19A Specter’ magazine advert did little to quell the F-19-mania, but the outing of the F-117 ‘stealth fighter’ in 1988 ended this enjoyable trend.

1.Mikoyan MiG-31 ‘Firefox’

The winner is course- Firefox. Rumour has it that Clint Eastwood originally wanted to cast the Saab Viggen, but it proved cheaper to use dodgy special effects. The resultant ‘Firefox’ was an exciting shape, with four engine intakes and a canard and cranked-delta wing design. With thought control and energy weapons, ‘Firefox’ was ahead technologically of even today’s F-35. Our winner also had a small amount of faceting on its nose and transparencies, but this appears to be for aesthetic reasons rather than hinting at a stealth insight. The 1982 film Firefox was based on a novel of the same name by Craig Thomas, in the novel however, the type looked similar to the MiG-25, as does the real MiG-31. Firefox was released at a time when real, new Soviet fighters were secretive and mysterious, and the film perfectly exploited this sexy mystique.

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“If you have any interest in aviation, you’ll be surprised, entertained and fascinated by Hush-Kit – the world’s best aviation blog”. Rowland White, author of the best-selling ‘Vulcan 607’

I’ve selected the richest juiciest cuts of Hush-Kit, added a huge slab of new unpublished material, and with Unbound, I want to create a beautiful coffee-table book. Pre-order your copy now right here  



From the cocaine, blood and flying scarves of World War One dogfighting to the dark arts of modern air combat, here is an enthralling ode to these brutally exciting killing machines.

The Hush-Kit Book of Warplanes is a beautifully designed, highly visual, collection of the best articles from the fascinating world of military aviation –hand-picked from the highly acclaimed Hush-kit online magazine (and mixed with a heavy punch of new exclusive material). It is packed with a feast of material, ranging from interviews with fighter pilots (including the English Electric Lightning, stealthy F-35B and Mach 3 MiG-25 ‘Foxbat’), to wicked satire, expert historical analysis, top 10s and all manner of things aeronautical, from the site described as:

“the thinking-man’s Top Gear… but for planes”.

The solid well-researched information about aeroplanes is brilliantly combined with an irreverent attitude and real insight into the dangerous romantic world of combat aircraft.


      • Interviews with pilots of the F-14 Tomcat, Mirage, Typhoon, MiG-25, MiG-27, English Electric Lighting, Harrier, F-15, B-52 and many more.
      • Engaging Top (and bottom) 10s including: Greatest fighter aircraft of World War II, Worst British aircraft, Worst Soviet aircraft and many more insanely specific ones.
      • Expert analysis of weapons, tactics and technology.
      • A look into art and culture’s love affair with the aeroplane.
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The book will be a stunning object: an essential addition to the library of anyone with even a passing interest in the high-flying world of warplanes, and featuring first-rate photography and a wealth of new world-class illustrations.

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Once upon a time, a story in no way about the F-35…

Once upon a time a new fighter was planned. It would be a great fighter. It would push the boundaries of technology and it would be all things to all air forces – and navies.

The military knew that it had to ask for every piece of technology and every capability it could think of. It knew this because a responsible government keeps a check on defence procurement, making sure that the military doesn’t spend all the treasure. So the military asked for all the toys it could ever want, expecting that it’d actually get only the toys it needed. That was usually the way of things. It also decided that it’d be really smart to ask for just one type of fighter, but have it built in really different versions.

So the military sat down and made a list of all the magic it wanted in its new fighter. The list said: stealth; a new radar and sensor suite; a helmet-mounted sight that did away with the traditional HUD; a single, widescreen cockpit display; advanced sensor and data fusion; a new propulsion system; the ability to operate from land bases without compromise; the ability to operate from aircraft carriers without compromise; the ability to operate from smaller ships without compromise; weapon bays; supersonic performance; a brand new logistics and maintenance system; world-beating air-to-ground capability; and world-beating air-to-air capability.

It also made a list of all the aeroplanes it wanted to replace. On the list it wrote F-16, F/A-18, A-10, Harrier, Tornado, F-4 and EA-6B, a long list of very different aeroplanes with diverse capabilities. Could the new fighter really take-off like a Harrier, kill tanks like an A-10 and jam mobile phone signals before they could trigger an IED?

Airframe Wizards

Now the aircraft and engine manufacturers, high-tech wizards with great magic in their wands, looked at what the military was asking for and saw treasure. They saw the chance to develop technology beyond their wildest dreams and, if everything went well, to make billions of money from all the fighter jets they would sell to air forces and navies of the world.

It all seemed so possible and soon they were busily at work, crafting and concocting. Each piece of technology was possible, given enough time and resource, but no one stopped to ask if all the technology was possible at the same time and for the same machine. No one stopped to ask if so much technology could be adapted to fit the requirements of the very different versions of that machine. And no one stopped and said to the government, or the military, ‘Yes, we can do all these things, but probably, if we’re entirely honest, not in a useful timescale, certainly not on budget, and maybe not all for just one airframe design.’ Worse still, everybody became so engrossed in trying to make it all work, that nobody thought to ask if they really should be trying to make it all work.

Problems, problems

Many years passed. A great deal of treasure was made and a huge amount lost. Wizards came and went. Dates and deadlines came and went. Some aeroplanes were built while the wizards were still working their magic and although these aeroplanes were upgraded, they were never as good as the aeroplanes that were made years later, when all the magic was finally working.

The problem was that none of the wizards ever lay down his wand and said: ‘What are we doing? This is all going horribly wrong and we should admit that we’re all wrong and fix it.’

The problem was also that the military saw all its wildest dreams coming true and didn’t want to admit that it had set off the wizards on a quest that would stretch their magic so far that it’d keep breaking. It had been allowed almost all of the toys that it had wished for, even though, in the real world, most of those toys were pure luxury most of the time.

The government simply didn’t understand and it didn’t think to ask anybody who did. It started out with a big chest of treasure and although it added a little bit of extra gold, it still wasn’t enough to pay for the fighter programme as it struggled along. So it decided to buy fewer aeroplanes, but it was the development costs using all the treasure up, not the production, so the government actually paid for fewer, much, much, much, much more expensive aeroplanes.

Happily Ever Afters

There were several possible endings to the Fighter Fairy Tail. In one, the whole programme was stopped and the wizards put all their magic and their clever spells into the aeroplanes that the new fighter was supposed to replace, and into much more modern aeroplanes that were already in production, but still evolving. Legend has it that this had been done once before, long, long ago, when a very clever helicopter gave away all its magic. It worked out quite well.

In another ending, the programme was cancelled and the military made do with the fighters it already had in production. This seemed like a very silly ending, because it wasted so much magic and most of the very, very clever wizards disappeared.

Ending number three saw some of the magic requirements relaxed. This meant that the remaining magic could be made to work much better, much more quickly. One of the fighter variants was abandoned, which allowed the others to be much less compromised. The wizards managed to get really, really good aeroplanes to the military without too much more delay. By the time the military got its hands on the jets it had forgotten about all the problems and the aeroplanes worked so well that everyone, even the government, was delighted.

In the final ending, the wizards carried on as they were. The military wriggled and jiggled and although some changes were made, it pretty much got what it wanted. At first the government made the military order far fewer jets, but the aeroplane remained in production for 30 years and because orders kept being added, in the end the military got all its aeroplanes and the wizards made lots and lots of treasure.

The problem was that the first aeroplanes were delivered when their magic was immature. They all needed new spells and some of them had lots of their magic missing for many years. By the time it was ready, they were worn out.

But finally, the military got all the variants of the new fighter into service. Eventually they all worked. All the magic did what it was supposed to do and because the magic was clever, the wizards could keep writing new spells that kept the aeroplanes on top of the world.

But there was a snag. The ending was not entirely happy, although it did take forever after. Almost two decades passed from the time when the wizards delivered the first aeroplanes until all the variants were in service and doing all the things that the wizards had promised and that the military wanted. This was always going to be the ending. The aeroplane was superb. Its technology was superb. Its powerplant was superb. But in combination, they were just too much for the wizards to make quickly and at the same time. For a truly happy ending, somebody should have realised that.

This is a work of fiction. Any similarity to militaries, governments, wizards or fighters, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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