Last Hungarian pilot deployed in action Endre Frankó bidden final farewell
23. 01. 2021.
Retired Lieutenant Endre Frankó, who died on 30 December aged 97 as the last pilot deployed in action of the legendary 101st Puma Home Air Defence Fighter Wing was buried on Saturday in Budapest. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán bid farewell to Mr Frankó on his social media account.

The Hungarian Defence Forces said goodbye to the lieutenant with a three-aircraft Gripen formation of the 59th Szentgyörgyi Dezső Air Base over the Danube. The Gripens waited in the air space at the Northern tip of Csepel Island shortly after noon, then at a height of 300 metres they flew above the Danube in formation all the way to the Buda bridgehead of the Árpád Bridge, and finally left the city in a northerly direction.

A final farewell was bidden to Mr Frankó at the Óbuda Church of the Good Shepherd, and he was buried in the crypt.

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán bade a final farewell to Endre Frankó on his social media account. He added the motto of the 101st Puma Home Air Defence Fighter Wing to a photo depicting the Gripens flying across the city and a saluting soldier: “Courage leads, luck escorts us”. Farewell to Lieutenant Vitéz Endre Frankó, the hero puma is now in the aerial formation. May he rest in peace, the Prime Minister wrote.

Endre Frankó was born on 3 September 1923 in Eger. In 1939, he first tried his hand at gliding in Pipishegy near Gyöngyös, and in 1942, after his graduation from secondary school, he enrolled in the Hungarian Royal Air Force. The excellent pentathlonist started his studies at the Horthy Air Academy in Szombathely, and was inaugurated as lieutenant on 20 August 1944. He was transferred to the Pumas in November 1944, and due to a shortage of pilots, after just six hours of practice flight, he was deployed in live action. Lieutenant Endre Frankó completed eight missions in total over Austria with the regiment withdrawing towards Transdanubia and later for the West. On 5 May 1945, he was captured by the US Army in Pocking, near the German and Austrian border.

He returned to Budapest at the end of 1945, and three years later, he was a powered flight instructor of the Hungarian National Aviation Association where he also taught soldiers. In 1949, he was appointed as Deputy Commander, and shortly thereafter as Commander of the Esztergom Aviation Academy. One year later, he became a teacher of the first instructor training school in Békéscsaba, and later joined the GANZ flight club as a powered flight instructor.

He obtained a degree as a mechanical engineer, and worked as an engineer of the road and railway planning company UVATERV. He is responsible for the Chair Lift on Jánoshegy in Budapest which is operational to this day. Credit goes to him not only for the idea itself; he was also the chief engineering architect of the project.

During his years in retirement, he closely followed the progress of Hungarian military aviation.