Plane crash caused by pilot’s outfit

A crash last week involving a Swedish Air Force fighter plane was probably caused by the pilot's G-suit, an investigation has shown.

In the crash, which happened last Wednesday in a sparsely populated area of the northern Swedish county of Norrbotten, a pilot ejected from his Gripen plane, which then smashed into the ground below.

Following the findings, a flight ban on Swedish Gripen planes has been lifted, although planes in C/D class, similar to that involved in the crash, are forbidden from exceeding 3g.

“This means that they may not undertake advanced flying, such as interception. For the older classes, A and B, there are no restrictions,” said Mats Helgesson, head of flight at the Swedish Armed Forces central command.

The armed forces wrote in a statement that according to evidence so far gathered by investigators, it was “very likely” that the pilot’s G-suit had caused the crash. The pilot said immediately after the crash that he had not activated the ejector seat himself.

“When subjected to large forces the suit fills with air. This is thought to have affected the ejector switch,” Helgesson said.