Airbus A400M Military Airlifter Undertakes Additional Flight Test <


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Airbus A400M Military Airlifter Undertakes Additional Flight Test

By Antonio Percy

March 11, 2010 - The first A400M is flying today from Seville, Spain to Toulouse, France following a test flight performed in the Seville area. This flight is the tenth performed by A400M MSN1 since its first flight on 11th December 2009.

In total and until yesterday the aircraft has logged 39 hours of flight test. Very poor weather in Seville prevented the aircraft from performing more flights, as the sensors installed on the turboprop blades for the initial flight test campaigns, are sensitive to humidity.

During the initial testing, MSN1 has flown at the type’s maximum operating speed of 300kt (555km/hr), maximum Mach number of M0.72, down to the stall warning, and at an altitude of more than 30,000ft. It has operated extensively in both direct and normal control laws, and in different configurations. The first A400M is equipped with heavy test instrumentation, as is the second aircraft which was handed over to Flight Test on 6th March and is due to fly in the next few weeks. MSN 3 is undergoing final production ground tests before engine installation.

The aircraft is due to fly by the middle of this year. Sections for MSN 4 have arrived in Seville for final assembly, with the main fuselage due to leave Bremen and be flown to Seville at the end of this week. MSN 4 is to fly in the second half of this year. While MSN 1 and 2 are fitted with heavy test instrumentation, MSN 3 and 4 will have medium test instrumentation. The fifth aircraft, MSN6, which is the first built to production standards, is going to be fitted with light test instrumentation only.  The five aircraft will perform a planned 3,700 flight-hours before first delivery of the A400M in late 2012. Trials with MSN1, 3 and 6 will be performed in Toulouse, while those with MSN 2 and 4 will be done in Seville, providing greater flexibility and taking advantage of best weather conditions where available.

The A400M is an all-new military airlifter designed to meet the needs of the world’s Armed Forces in the 21st Century. Thanks to its most advanced technologies, it is able to fly higher, faster and further, while retaining high maneuverability, low speed, and short, soft and rough airfield capabilities. It combines both tactical and strategic/logistic missions.  With its cargo hold specifically designed to carry the outsize equipment needed today for both military and humanitarian disaster relief missions, it can bring this material quickly and directly to where it is most needed.

Conceived to be highly reliable, dependable, and with a great survivability, the multipurpose A400M can do more with less, implying smaller fleets and less investment from the operator. The A400M is the most cost efficient and versatile airlifter ever conceived and absolutely unique in its capabilities.

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