Barrel rolling brilliance

Photo:Filip Modrzejewski

Visitors and aviation enthusiasts at the NATO Days at Ostrava (September 21-22) were thrilled to see a unique performance of the Czech Gripen fighter and an Extra 300SR as a duo. It was a performance that is going to be hard to beat for a very long time. The pilots were none other than 2018 Red Bull Air Race World Champion, Martin Šonka, and Czech Airforce display pilot, Ivo Kardoš.

In an interview with, Martin Šonka talks about the careful planning that went in for the successful performance of Gripen and the Extra 300SR. “I think we did five training flights of 20-30 minutes each,” Šonka said. “When we started planning it, we were able to convince people that it would be something very interesting to see,” says Šonka, and interesting it was.

Being a former Gripen pilot himself, Martin Šonka was aware of what the Gripen fighter could do. “Ivo is one of my best friends from the Air force – we did our conversion training onto Gripen together – and when he became a display pilot for the Air force, it really seemed like something we could do,” Šonka further says. Martin Šonka’s familiarity with both Gripen and Ivo Kardoš ultimately helped in the execution of the display.

Watch the video here