Airbus Military (Seville, Spain) announced on Nov. 24 that its all-new A400M airlifter has moved under its own power for the first time as the aircraft began its program of taxi tests. Confirming the rapid progress being achieved in the test program, aircraft msn 01 completed further engine runs on Nov. 23 and was then taxied on the maneuvring area at Airbus Military’s Seville, Spain, plant.
The aircraft performed a series of runs at low speed during which the aircraft’s braking and steering systems underwent initial tests. Operating at speeds up to 20 knots/37 kph/23 mph, the crew tested the normal, alternate and emergency braking systems; the anti-skid system; and the nosewheel steering and reverse power. Maneuvres conducted during the 90-minute sortie included 180° turns and taxiing in reverse.
The latest milestone followed several days of engine and systems tests during which the A400M's four Europrop International (EPI) TP400 turboprops were run at progressively higher power settings, finally reaching full take-off power. Extensive work was also performed on the electrical and on- board data-networks. Taxi tests at increasingly high speeds are expected to be carried out in the coming days, to be followed by first flight.
The A400M makes extensive use of composites, including in the massive cargo door. See link to story at right for more information.