RogerBW's Blog

Swedish Air Force Museum 29 July 2014

Earlier this month I visited the Swedish Air Force Museum near Linköping, on the site where Carl Cederström (Sweden's first aviator, like so many early flyers a member of the landed gentry with an interest in machinery and little to do) established the first Swedish flying school. Lots of images follow: cc-by-sa on everything.

The whole museum is quite dark, which is why some of these photos will be a bit blurred. (Yes, all done with the PowerShot 1300.)

Thulin GThulin G

Thulin G, a primary trainer aircraft. Albatros-Flugzeugwerke GmbH was showing off its new Albatros B.IIa on a tour of northern Europe in 1914, but the landing gear and propeller were damaged on arrival in Sweden. Parts couldn't be obtained before the outbreak of war, and the aircraft was interned and copied as the Thulin G. (This particular one was built by Flygkompaniets Verkstäder Malmen.)

Breguet C.U.1

Breguet Type IV, trainer.


Donnet-Lévêque L II flying-boat, used at Cederström's flying school.

Nieuport IV

Nieuport IV.G (M 1 in Swedish service), early monoplane fighter.

TummelisaSK 1

Another FVM aircraft, the Ö1 Tummelisa, used as an advanced trainer. Lots of torque from the engine, but apparently delightful to fly apart from that.

HD 35

Heinkel HD 35. Obtained on approval, inadequate as a trainer, but the Swedes held onto it anyway.


Phönix C.I, an Austro-Hungarian reconnaissance plane. Dagens Nyheter and the Swedish Aeronautical Society invited the Austrian aviators Edmund Sparmann and Max Perini to Sweden after the War; they brought this plane and flew rings round the local machines, and licence building was immediately arranged.


Another Albatros, a B.II model.

C.V-ESki detail

Fokker C.V-E, intended as a fighter but used as a liaison aircraft.


Raab-Katzenstein RK-26 Tigerschwalbe, a relatively unsuccessful trainer (of the 25 delivered, 18 were destroyed in accidents) probably because after modification it was 200kg heavier than Gerhard Fieseler's original design.

Gloster GladiatorSide

A Gloster Gladiator, of course, and probably the only one in that particular livery; it was used by Swedish Volunteers fighting in the Talvisota and Jatkosota (Winter War and Continuation War).


Caproni Ca.313 reconnaissance bomber (bought largely because the start of the Second World War meant that the USA was no longer selling aircraft to Sweden). Had a very bad reputation, particularly for engine fires and fuel leaks.

Hawker Hartsideport flank

A Hawker Hart, light day bomber, again in Swedish Volunteer colours.


Various uniforms of the late 1930s.


North American NA-16 trainer (hacked together from an ex-RAAF CAC Wirraway with parts from an ex-RCAF NA-64 Yale).


Seversky P-35, replaced the Gladiator as a defensive fighter in the summer of 1940.


Fiat CR.42, as with the Caproni bomber bought as an emergency measure. Nearly half of the Swedish CR.42s were lost to accidents, many blamed on poor material quality at the Fiat factory. Slow, poorly armed, and an open cockpit is not ideal when flying in Scandinavia.

Ju 86KPort bowTail

Junkers Ju 86K, the only surviving Ju 86 in any condition. (And the Fieseler Storch behind it.)

Storchstarboard flankrear cabin

Fieseler Storch, in reasonably good condition though certainly not flyable.


Not what you might expect, but a Reggine Re.2000 (or most of one anyway), another emergency purchase. Performance in harsh conditions was good, but reliability was very poor.

Bofors 40mm

One thing Sweden didn't need to import was anti-aircraft guns, such as this original model Bofors 40mm.

Aero engine

A V-12 aero engine; I think this is a locally-built equivalent to the Merlin or the Packard V-1650.


North American P-51D Mustang. The first four Mustangs in Swedish service had diverted there during the war; afterwards they bought lots more, but retired them by the early 1950s.

J 22placard

FFVS J 22, an emergency wartime wood-and-metal design. I particularly like the apologetic text about the engine.

Saab 17gear

Saab 17, a medium bomber and reconnaissance aircraft. Note cooling vanes on engine exhaust, and cowling for landing gear (the main gear retracts backwards to lie along the lower surface of the wing).

Moth 60Tengine

I've seen a few of these, but never in a colour scheme like this. A de Havilland Moth 60T trainer.

Saab 21tailflank

A Saab 21, a post-war fighter and ground attack design; unusually, it uses a pusher propeller (for a better forward view, and the ability to concentrate guns in the nose), but consequent difficulties in bailing out meant it was fitted with an ejection seat relatively early.

Saab 18starboard bowstarboard quarterport bow

Saab 18: built during the war as a dive bomber, some converted into torpedo bombers, with a bad reputation for crew safety that led the last models to have ejection seats fitted. It was used in trials of early Swedish air-to-air missiles, and replaced by the Lansen in 1958-1959.

Gripenport bowstarboard quarterstarboard mid

And all of a sudden: the JAS 39 Gripen. All right, it's not really clear what it's doing in this hall, but never mind.

Saab 210

The Saab 210 "Lilldraken", a 70% scale model of the Draken built as a proof of concept for the delta wing.

Saab 21Rintakestailexhaust

Saab 21R, a 21 design modified for a de Havilland Goblin jet engine.


Griffon 66.


Bristol Jupiter.

STAL Doverndetail

STAL Dovern, one of the first home-designed Swedish engines.

RM 1Adetail

RM 1A, the licence-built Goblin 2 used in the Saab 21R.

RM 8detail

RM 8 afterburning jet engine, built for the Saab 37 Viggen.

DFS Weihe

DFS Weihe A-3 glider.


The distinctive shape of a Bücker Bestmann, used for training and courier duties.

Fw 44engine

Focke-Wulf Fw 44, trainer.

Thulinmotor Type A

Thulinmotor TYP A, nine-cylinder air-cooled radial engine based on a Le Rhône 9C.

Maybach MB IVA

Maybach Mb IVA, a high-altitude engine for zeppelins and fixed-wing aircraft.


Vertol 44A, an upgraded Piasecki H-21, transport and anti-submarine helicopter.

Catalinaport bowside

Into the Cold War, and the Catalina Affair in which a DC-3 derivative and a Catalina were shot down over international waters by Soviet fighters.

Spitfire PR.XIX

Photo reconnaissance Spitfire (PR.XIX), sold to Sweden after the war.


de Havilland Vampire.


Saab 29 ("Flygande Tunnan"), the second Swedish turbojet-powered aircraft after the 21R. In service from 1950 to the mid 1970s, it was surprisingly agile, and popular with its crews (once training was worked out; transition from two-seater Vampire trainers was less than ideal).

Hawker Hunterstarting cart

Hawker Hunter with its starting cart. Used for air defence, and aerobatic display, in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Bloodhound tailBloodhound nose

Bristol Bloodhound SAM (Mk II).

Agusta Bell 204

Not a Huey, technically, but an Agusta Bell 204.

Vertol 107

Boeing Vertol 107.


MiG-15, as part of the Catalina Affair display.


de Havilland Venom.


Saab Viggen (carefully placed to make it hard to get a good shot).

Bo 105

Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm Bo 105, mostly a utility transport helicopter, but (as seen here) capable of being armed.

Saab 105

Saab 105 trainer, replacement for the Vampire.

Lansenport midport bowpod nosepod midpod tailpod detail

Saab Lansen, high-transsonic attack aircraft of the late 1950s. It's not clear to me what those are under the wings; my default assumption is that they're fuel tanks, but the big wing on the tail section and the plug (or nozzle) at the back would suggest something else. In service the Lansen carried the Sidewinder AAM or rocket pods, not big missiles.


Saab Draken, one of my favourite aircraft designs. Also hard to photograph because of its placement.

It's no Hendon, of course, but this is definitely one of the best aviation museums I've been to. Something that I've noticed a lot here, at the Husqvarna Museum, and at various Finnish military museums, is that in the UK we're used to museums that are basically about invention: "This was the world's first (X)". If the world's first X wasn't British, it'll still be mentioned, but it'll be in the background somewhere because there will have been some British innovations and the museum will mostly be about them. But in Sweden and Finland, and I imagine in most countries, what you get is "this was the first (X) that was brought into Sweden", and then some years later "this was the first (X) we produced for ourselves" (often split into "the first one built here" and "the first one we actually designed").

  1. Posted by Owen Smith at 09:42pm on 29 July 2014

    I doubt there will be many more "this is the world's first X" in British aircraft museums. We stopped any of that rubbish like actually building things a couple of decades ago, alas. The Harrier is about the last hurrah. A fine one it was too, but it doesn't make up for nothing to follow it.

  2. Posted by John Dallman at 06:23pm on 30 July 2014

    The pod-like object underneath the Lansen appears to be an RB04 anti-ship missile. Wikipedia has an article and a picture.

    Do you have a version of the J22 plaque that's legible?

  3. Posted by RogerBW at 11:23pm on 30 July 2014

    You can click on any of the images to get the full-size original.

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