The central marking of the Croatian Army and the Croatian Armed Forces Day and…
Two pilots of the Croatian Air Force -1st Lieutenant Marko Novković and 2nd Lieutenant Luka Jagatić lost their lives in the fall of the ZLIN aircraft during a flight. They were aviation enthousiasts, who invested their ambitions, expertise and motivation to become pilots. Their attitude reflected their conviction of pilot profession as a honourable and a supreme vocation
“The two young officers merit deepest respect and gratitude for taking the path of challenges, honour and selfless sacrifice. The Croatian Armed Forces and the Croatian Air Force were their families too. The entire Croatia is in mourning the loss of the two Croatian sons, pilots, colleagues and friends”, said Defence Minister at the memorial for the two pilots of the Croatian Air Force 1st Lieutenant Marko Novković and 2nd Lieutenant Luka Jagatić, who lost their lives in the fall of the ZLIN aircraft near the Zemunik Base on 7 May 2020.
The memorial for 1st Lieutenant Novković and 2nd Lieutenant Jagatić was held via video-conference in Zagreb and at the Zemunik Air Base on 11 May 2020. The memorial held in the Ministry of Defence in Zagreb was attended by the family members of the late 2st Lt. Jagatić, friends and colleagues from the Croatian Air Force and of the Croatian Armed Forces, and by the Defence Minister Damir Krstičević, by the Chief of the General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces Admiral Robert Hranj and by the Defence and National Security Advisor to the President of the Republic Dragan Lozančić .
The memorial for 1st Lt. Novković at the Zemunik Base was attended by the family members, numerous friends and colleagues and by the Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces Major General Siniša Jurković and by the Commander of the Croatian Air Force Brigadier General Michael Križanec.
The memorial was followed by members of the Croatian Armed Forces in the services commands, at the Pleso Air Base, in the Croatian Defence Academy and by members deployed to the operation, missions and activities worldwide. 1st Lieutenant Novković and 2nd Lieutenant Jagatić were flying enthusiasts, dedicated to acquiring flying skills and to the pilot profession as a vocation.
The fatal fall of the training aircraft with two pilots aboard led to a resignation by the Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Damir Krstičević, which was accepted by the Prime Minister Andrej Plenković.
Young pilots leaving a profound mark
Extending deepest condolences to the families of the two very young and noble-hearted pilots Minister Krstičević said he had an opportunity to fly aboard the aircraft with 1st Lieutenant Novković: “Each manoeuvre and movement he made reflected his strong enthusiasm, passion and fighter spirit of a young man of remarkable energy .
1st Lieutenant Novković and 2nd Lieutenant Jagatić left a profound mark in the Croatian Armed Forces and their tragic death is a major loss for the Croatian Air Force, said the Minister and expressed appreciation for their noble service to their homeland and to the ideals and values shared by the Croatian defenders in the Homeland War.
The Chief of the General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces Admiral also expressed deep mourning for the tragic loss of the two pilots, shared by their families, friends, colleagues and units.
“Guided by noble motivation and patriotism 1st Lieutenant Marko Novković chose the military pilot career, while 2nd Lieutenant Luka Jagatić followed the path of his father who had been a Croatian defender himself. 1st Lt. took part in a number of activities and missions, also as a top pilot and a flying instructor, and the youngest member of the “Wings of Storm”, with a promising career ahead of him. Young Luka Jagatić was a flying enthusiast, so happy and proud of his successful first solo flight, which brought him so close to his lifetime goal. Marko and Luka will forever be to the pride of their families, of the Croatian Armed Forces and of the homeland they were so fond of”, said Admiral Hranj.
Commended and highly valued performances
1st Lieutenant Marko Novković was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1989. He graduated from the Faculty of Transportation in 2013 as a student of the 17th generation of military pilots. He was a flight instructor and demonstration pilot of PC-9M Pilatus aircraft in the 392nd Squadron of the 93rd Wing of the Croatian Air Force. 1st Lt. Novković was also a “Wings of Storm” aerobatic group team commentator. During his pilot career he logged as many as 800 flying hours on Pilatus PC-9M and Z242L. In 2019 he joined the “Wings of Storm”, flying as 2nd right wing and also took part in KFOR in Kosovo. He was a recipient of many commendations.
2nd Lieutenant Luka Jagatić joined the Croatian Armed Forces in 2019. He was born in Peskovac (near Zagreb) in 1995. 2nd Lt. Jagatić graduated from the Military Engineering study programme at the Croatian Defence Academy and was assigned as platoon commander in the Artillery and Rocket Battalion of the Guards Armoured Mechanised Brigade of the Croatian Army. Since September 2019 2nd Lt. Jagatić attended and successfully completed selection flying within the 7th generation of candidates for military pilots, followed by basic flying on ZLIN 242 L aircraft in early March 2020 and successfully completed first solo flight in late April 2020. During his training he logged 25 flying hours on ZLIN 242 L.
1st Lieutenant Novković was buried in the Zadar Cemetery on 12 May and 2nd Lt. Jagatić was buried at Retkovec, Zagreb on 13 May.