Hungarian Pilot Punches Out Of His Saab Gripen During Emergency Landing

The Hungarian Air Force had its second Saab JAS 39 Gripen crash in less than a month. The latest accident three days ago was caused by the malfunctioning landing gear, which led the pilot to make an emergency landing. He stayed with the jet as long as possible, only ejecting as the stricken fighter tipped on its side, careening down the runway.


During ejection, the pilot’s malfunctioning seat put him in hospital with a vertebral fracture. Squadron leader Sándor Kádár had hit the ground pretty hard since his seat didn’t detach after leaving the cockpit, weighing down his parachute by an additional 176 pounds. On the plus side, he got a freakin’ medal for his bravery at the hospital.

After burning off excess kerosene and landing on its belly, the Gripen tilted to the left, leaving no other option than pulling the ejection handle. Still, at least the plane came to a halt in one piece, which means she will fly again.

The same can not be said about the JAS 39D we lost during a Czech air show training exercise lost month. While both pilots ejected safely after overrunning the landing strip, we still don’t know how that happened exactly as the accident is still under investigation.

Illustration for article titled Hungarian Pilot Punches Out Of His Saab Gripen During Emergency Landing

The Hungarian Air Force is leasing-buying 14 JAS 39 Gripens (2 of which are dual-seaters) until 2026. That’s why in the beginning of May, they could count 12 JAS 39Cs and 2 JAS 39Ds ready for combat in those hangars.

Less than a month later, that’s down to 11+1, all grounded for now.

Photo credit: MTI/AP/CTK/Josef Vostarek


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Tyler John

I am not expert, but seems like the ejection seat should be he most reliable part. Does anybody know how reliable the Gripen is? I always thought it was pretty good. Could the crashes be mainly operator related?