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Bangalore student flies Gripen at Aero India


A student of a Bangalore engineering college was the lucky winner of the Gripen Top Gun contest which was held as part of Aero India 2011 on the website gripentopgun. On Sunday February 13 he had a 50 minutes ride on the Gripen and got a feel of the fighter aircraft.

22-year-old Shashank HR from Bangalore emerged as the Gripen India Top Gun in the month long contest organized by Defence and security company Saab for Indian combat aircraft followers and those with a dream to fly a fighter aircraft. The top 5 finalists from across the country tested their skills on the Gripen simulator on Saturday and were judged by four top Indian and Swedish pilots on their aircraft handling and combat skills.

Shashank HR is a final year Mechanical Engineer student at the BMS College of Engineering. Shashank was first kitted out in his flight suit on Sunday morning and then extensively briefed by the Gripen Team. Shashank’s Gripen flight, which took off after the morning display, was piloted by Chief Test Pilot Robin Norlander. Shashank HR is an avid gamer and qualified through the ACE level of the contest.

"It was a tough choice between the five finalists who gave the Indian and Swedish jury much to evaluate. Finally, Shashank was chosen among the final contenders for his performance on the simulator. We are delighted at the great response and interest in this contest. What was amazing was that people in over 75 countries visited the site. However, the most exciting part of the contest was the huge participation in India with visitors to the site from 82 Indian cities. We are absolutely delighted with the results and I congratulate all the winners and look forward to the selection of the Gripen Top Gun, the one Indian who will fly in the Gripen fighter aircraft on Sunday,” said Joanna Sjolander, In Country Director, Gripen India.

The Gripen Top Gun contest

The site received over 150,000 page views. Around 3000 contestants played the amateur level of the game while around 2400 contestants played the professional and ace levels since January 12 to win a large number of prizes and collectibles. Over a hundred model aspirants also participated for the Gripen Top Gun India Calendar contest.

The contest had an amateur and professional level challenge to test the knowledge of aircraft buffs while providing an opportunity for video games buffs the opportunity to enter their best flying effort on the Gripen and take a shot at flying the real Gripen. The Gripen game entries were judged by top Swedish and Indian pilots to select a few who would get a shot at flying the real Gripen Aircraft simulator. Out of the five chosen simulator ’pilots’, one will get to fly the real thing: the Gripen. To top it, for those not really interested in the technical end but love the look and feel of the aircraft, the Gripen Top Guns contest featured a Model Hunt in which 12 participants made it to the first ever Gripen India Calendar.

Apart from the grand prize of a flight in the Gripen, the Gripen Top Guns contest has a host of prizes for those who get it right and win in the draw of lots, including Gripen fighter pilot flying suits, Gripen Aviator Glasses, Gripen Exclusive Calendars signed by Swedish Test Pilots as well as Gripen Collectibles including Gripen Key Tags, Badges, Stickers And Pens.


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