The Airbus Military A400M completed its successful maiden flight on December 11, taking off from Seville, Spain, at 10:15 local time and landing 3hr 47min later, with the crew of MSN 1 confirming the aircraft and its engines performed as expected.
“We have had a very successful first flight – the takeoff performance was impressive, we explored a lot of the operational flight envelope, and it was a delight to operate in such a well-designed cockpit with its easy interface to all the normal and military systems,” said the aircraft’s captain, chief test pilot military, Ed Strongman.
MSN 1 took off at a weight of 127 tonnes, carrying 15 tonnes of test equipment including two tonnes of water ballast (compared with its maximum takeoff weight of 141 tonnes). Airbus Military said “the six-man crew extensively explored the aircraft’s flight envelope in direct law, including a wide speed-range, and tested lowering and raising of the landing gear and high-lift devices at altitude. After checking the aircraft’s performance in the landing configuration the crew landed back at Seville.”
In the first half of 2010 MSN 1 will be joined by two sister aircraft, MSN 2 and MSN 3, followed by MSN 4 by the end of the year. A fifth aircraft will join the program during 2011. They will be used for a 3700 hour flight test program leading to first delivery to the French air force in late 2012.
A total of 184 A400Ms is on order for Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Spain, Turkey and the UK.
View footage of the first flight here.