Fourth Airbus Military A400M makes first flight
The fourth Airbus Military A400M airlifter has made its first flight – the culmination of a successful 2010 which also saw the fleet of Grizzly development aircraft complete just over 1,000 hours flight-time and 300 flights.
Known as Grizzly 4, the aircraft took off from Seville, Spain with a weight of 130 tonnes at 10h18 local time (GMT+1) and landed five hours and ten minutes later. Experimental Test Pilot Klaus-Dietrich Flade captained the flight, supported by Experimental Test Pilot Christophe Cail. The crew also included Test Flight Engineers José Aragón-Gómez and, Bruno Bigand, and Flight Test Engineers José Casado-Corpas, and Catherine Schneider. Catherine is the first female Flight Test Engineer and test crew member to participate in an A400M first flight.
Grizzly 4 is the fourth of an eventual five aircraft which will conduct the 3,700 hour flight-test programme leading to first delivery in around two years time. It will be primarily dedicated to cargo and air-to-air refuelling operations and carries a medium flight-test instrumentation load.
Airbus Head of Flight Operations Fernando Alonso said: “The on-time first flight of Grizzly 4 highlights what has been an excellent first year of the flight-test programme. We end 2010 fully on schedule and with every expectation of rapidly building flight-hours and hitting our key test objectives in the year ahead. I am particularly proud of the seamless work done by the Airbus and Airbus Military teams in the Seville and Toulouse Flight Test Centres which has been instrumental in this achievement.”