(December 23, 2009) -- Airbus Military has completed a highly successful second flight of the new A400M airlifter in an operation which exceeded the expectations of the flight-test team.
The three-hour and ten minute flight of the first aircraft, known as MSN1, from Seville, Spain was conducted yesterday by experimental test pilot Nacho Lombo supported by chief test pilot military Ed Strongman, along with a team of four flight test engineers, Didier Ronceray, Eric Isorce, Jean-Philippe Cottet and Gerard Leskerpit.
During this second flight, the A400M was already able to clear the entire normal flight envelope, including the maximum operating speed (VMO) of 300kt (555km/hr) and maximum Mach number (MMO) of M0.72. During this flight, which extended to northern Spain, the aircraft operated at an altitude of 30,000ft which allowed the testing the aircraft's systems in cruise conditions.
Airbus head of flight operations, Fernando Alonso, said: "The fact that we achieved so much on the second flight is a great testament to the quality of the aircraft and very promising for the future of the programme. In earlier aircraft programmes it has taken several flights to achieve the same targets that we have already now done on the A400M." The second flight had been delayed by a couple of days because of poor weather in Seville. The next flight is planned after the Christmas break.
This first aircraft is expected to fly for some 1,200 hours during the 3,700hr test programme involving five aircraft which will lead to first delivery of the type in late 2012.
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