Third Airbus Military A400M makes its first flight
The third development aircraft of the new A400M airlifter made its maiden flight today, taking off at 13h 57 local time from Seville. During the day this fleet also passed the milestone of 100 test flights and 400 flight hours.
Experimental Test Pilot Tony Flynn captained the flight, supported by Experimental Test Pilot François Barre. The crew also included Flight Test Engineers Laurent Lapierre and José Angel Corugedo, and Test Flight Engineer Gérard Maisonneuve.
MSN 3 joins its sister-ships MSN 1 and MSN 2 which were also in the air during this test flight, meaning that 3 A400M were flying at the same time.
Airbus head of flight operations Fernando Alonso said: “The addition of MSN3 to the fleet is great news and will let us push ahead even more rapidly with the flying programme.”
MSN3 is the third of an eventual five aircraft which will conduct the 3,700 hour flight-test programme leading to first delivery. It is the first aircraft to carry a medium flight-test instrumentation load, rather than the heavy fit of the first two, and will be primarily dedicated to auto-flight development, aircraft systems development, and route-proving.
The fourth aircraft, MSN4, is at an advanced stage of manufacture at Seville and is due to fly around the end of the year, followed by the fifth in mid-2011.