Aero Academy

Saab Press Release that came in the mail this morning.  Good news for US purchasers of the 9-3 2.8l V6 Aero models as well as the 9-5.


For Immediate Release – December 2006 (sic)

Saab Aero Academy Enrollment Now ‘Standard Equipment’ On All MY 2006 Saab 9-3 Aero Models

Braselton, GA — The Saab Aero Academy is expanding for the 2006 model year to complement Saab’s growing product range.  Enrollment in the performance driving school now comes standard with the purchase or lease of a 2006 Saab 9-3 Aero Sport Sedan, Convertible or the new SportCombi, equipped with the award-winning 250 hp 2.8 V6 Turbo engine.  Owners of 2005 model year or newer Saab 9-5 Aeros also qualify. 

The intensive two-day course is held at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia and combines driver education with the thrill of piloting high performance vehicles.  It consists of 80 percent advanced handling exercises on specially constructed training tracks and 20 percent classroom time.  Aero Academy instructors are professional race drivers. 

“The Saab Aero Academy is not an extra and it’s not an option,” says Saab USA General Manager Jay Spenchian.  “It’s as much a part of the Saab 9-3 and 9-5 as their turbocharged engines and is something no other automaker offers.  It allows our customers to improve their driving skills and practice accident avoidance techniques while pushing the cars to their limits on a safe, closed course.  Bottom line, if you love to drive and want to sharpen your skills, it’s a must.” 

Aero Academy enrollees experience a skid pad where they learn how to control a car with proper steering, throttle and brake responses; “threshold” braking, which teaches how to apply brakes, improve reaction time and avoid brake lockup; a lane change exercise which is designed to improve reflexes and car control skills; a slalom course which tests timing, throttle and steering skills – all while avoiding the orange cones; and an autocross, a scaled down race track that tests cornering, braking, acceleration and skid control while using 100 percent of the cars’ potential. 

Saab Aero Academy instructors are active in open wheel formula racing, sports car racing, endurance racing and oval track racing.  Instructor to student ratio is 1:4.  Over 1,400 Saab owners have participated in the Aero Academy since it was founded in 1999 under the name “Viggen Flight Academy.” 

Customers enroll in the Saab Aero Academy by having their dealer submit their information to Saab Cars USA.  Upon receiving a Saab Aero Academy certificate, the owner calls an 800 number to register for a particular session.  The two-day program is free.  Enrollees must pay for their own transportation to Road Atlanta, hotel accommodations and meals. 

Saab USA is in the midst of the most aggressive new product development offensive in its 58-year history as an automaker.  The 9-7X, Saab’s first SUV, was introduced in June 2005, the five-door 9-3 SportCombi, which rounds out the 9-3 range, went on sale in November and a refreshed 9-5 sedan and SportCombi, the flagships of the Saab lineup, will be in dealerships by the start of 2006.

In addition to the new cars, an all-new 250-horsepower 2.8L V6 Turbo engine is now standard equipment in all 9-3 Aero models.   This engine has just recently been named among the industry’s 10 best engines of 2006 by the editors at Ward’s Communications.

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  1. “For Immediate Release – December 2006”?

    I know you aussies are a couple of hours before us in Europe, but that far ahead? 🙂

  2. Has anyone else gone to this Aero course? It looks good, but getting the wife to let me leave her and the kid(s) while I’m off screeming around the track while I still have to pay for travel and lodging may be tricky…. But then again, I won’t have to drive/wreck my own Saab.

  3. I attended the Viggen Flight Academy in October 2000 after buying my Viggen coupe in the January. I didn’t want to be down in Georgia during the hottest and most humid months of the summer, but even in late October it was still hot (around 30C) and very sunny…but without the humidity.

    Forget about screaming around the main circuit — that is reserved for the folks attending the Panoz Racing School in Panoz GT-RA race cars…unless, like me, you happen to be the last one completing one of the exercises before the lunch break and are with one of the Panoz instructors who decides to take a short-cut back to the cafeteria. Wow can that Viggen fly!

    That said, it is still a great experience and everyone that I attended with was able to improve their handling and control of the car over the 2-day course (timed over an auto-cross course), with the advantage that you get to experience the car “on the edge” in a controlled environment and in a way that you could never do (safely, or probably legally) on the public highways. Only the skid pan was not done in one of the supplied Viggens. Instead we had an automatic 9-3 SE.

    Staying at the “recommended” hotel (also owned at the time by the Panoz family) is expensive, but I found a more affordable deal at a hotel on Lake Lanier just a 20-minute drive from Road.

  4. Hey Conrad,

    Good to hear from someone that’s been there. I might incorporate your comments into a new post if that’s OK, as I’m sure people would be interested to read about your experience.


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