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A400M flies

written by australianaviation.com.au | December 12, 2009

a400m-first-flight-3_hr_dec09The 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.”

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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.

Takeoff from Seville.
Takeoff from Seville.

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