Hans Ejnar Fugl-Svendsen passed away Saturday 18 July 2020. He was well and mentally fit as usual until a few days ago. On Friday evening he started not feeling well and on Saturday morning he was admitted to hospital where he passed away peacefully at 9.30.
Hans Ejnar Fugl-Svendsen was born on 24 August 1924 in Denmark and lived an unusual life. His last many years he lived in Thailand which became his adopted home. It was, however, his wish that upon his death he would be flown back to Denmark to be burried there.
Hans Ejnar started already in 1940 in a pre-cadet school training to be a pilot. In 1942 he was admitted in the British Royal Air Force for pilot training including flying in the Tiger Moth fighters. The same year, he lost his older brother Aksel, also an RAF pilot, which only galvanized his intent to fight the war against Germany. On 21 April 1944, he received his wings and started serving.
Due to his height – Hans Ejnar was 195 cm tall – he mostly piloted transportation flights. His last flight for RAF was to ferry an Avro Anson XIX from England to Singapore. They left England on 13 January 1947 and arrived at Seleter Airport one month later. En-route they stopped at all RAF Stations. Total flying time was 68 hours. One of the legs from Mergui, Burma, to RAF Station Butterworth, Penang, was longer than the aircraft was able to fly. Therefore, they loaded petrol cans in the cabin and went down in Phuket, Thailand, to refuel. The airport there was then only a simple landing strip.
He later produced an excellent video of the whole trip, which is available on YouTube.
He returned to Denmark in March 1947 to join Danish Airlines – later Scandinavian Airlines Systems – as pilot. Of many remarkable flights the first commercial flight across the Geographical North Pole from Tokyo via Anchorage to Copenhagen in 1957 has to be mentioned.
Hans Ejnar Fugl-Svendsen moved to stay in Thailand in 1961 when he was still flying for SAS. The Thai Airways International had requested help from SAS, so Hans along with a group of pilots headed for Thailand to fly the CV990 Convair Coronado, the first jet aircraft in their fleet and the fastest ever built – as well as to train the Thai pilots. It is believed, that his record of 1 hour and 52 minutes flying a THAI CV990 from Bangkok to Hong Kong has never been broken.
His late wife Annette, and two daughters moved with him, while his eldest daughter stayed in Denmark to continue her education.
Hans Ejnar later returned to SAS and got promoted as Manager of Flight Procedures and was flying around the world but his duty was mainly to keep an eye on Thailand and Asia Pacific region.
In 1980, he retired from Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) as Deputy Director of Flight Operations having flown more than 21,000 hours after which he accepted a position as Regional Technical Director of the IATA Asia/Pacific Region with office in Bangkok. That gave him time to enjoy his favorite sports, golf, which he played with many nof his closests friends in Thailand. Among others Einar and Aks Ammundsen with whom he engaged in the Sataban Saeng Sawang school for handicapped children as well as the Raindrop Foundation of Dr. Pensak Howitz.
In 2004, ScandAsia published an interview with Hans Ejnar Fugl-Svendsen about his fabulous life, which is a highly recommendable read even today:
Hans Ejnar Fugl-Svendsen was a family man and was a fabulous friend to the many privileged people, who got to know him over the years. He will be dearly missed.
It was the strong determination of Hans Ejnar Fugl-Svendsen to be interred in Denmark with his first wife Annette. The Danish Embassy is assisting his Thai wife, Duen with practical detals in that respect. It is therefore not clear if or when there will be an opportunity for friends in Thailand to say Goodbye to him.
Here is another link to information mostly about his early years in the RAF.