His name is Bjørge “Gaff” Kleppe and he is the boss of Royal Norwegian Air Force’s 338 Squadron based at Ørland. As the first only Norwegian ever, Kleppe has flown 4,000 hours in the Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon, the Ministry of Defence in Oslo announced on 13 August 2015.
Kleppe has been flying the F-16 for 22 years. “Even after so many flight hours in the sky, the job is still exciting,” the combat pilot says. He flew missions during several international operations, including over Kosovo in 1999-2000 (the first Norwegian combat deployment in a war zone since the Second World War), in Afghanistan in 2003 (the first time in modern history the RNoAF flew with air-to-ground weapons into combat) and over Libya in 2011.
Kleppe has even flown the Northrop F-5 from Rygge Air Base for then 336 Squadron, the year before he reached full fighter pilot status in 1993.
Featured image: RNoAF’s 338 Squadron chief Bjørge “Gaff” Kleppe nailed the 4,000 flight hours milestone on the F-16, as the first Norwegian ever (Image © Forsvarets Mediesenter)