Would you like a free digital subscription?

Qualified international subscribers can receive full issues of High-Performance Composites and Composites Technology delivered in a convenient and interactive digital magazine format. Read at your convenience on your desktop or mobile device.

Yes, I would like a free digital subscription!

No thanks, please don't ask again.

Industry News
First Airbus Military A400M makes its final flight

The Madrid, Spain-based military airframer intends to retire the aircraft and put it on display.

Posted on: 12/2/2013
Source: CompositesWorld

Click Image to Enlarge

Airbus A400M last flight

The first Airbus A400M's final flight (left to right): experimental test pilot Nacho Lombo; chief test pilot, military, Ed Strongman; test flight engineer Gerard Leskerpit; head of A400M flight test Eric Isorce; senior flight test engineer Didier Ronceray; and senior flight test engineer JeanPhilippe Cottet.

Nearly four years after its maiden flight, the first Airbus Military A400M new-generation airlifter has been retired and is to be placed on public display.

Development aircraft MSN1 – affectionately known as Grizzly 1 – made its final flight from Toulouse on Nov. 4, manned by exactly the same crew that first took it airborne from Seville, Spain, Dec. 11, 2009. In addition, MSN3 has been placed in long-term storage in flyable condition. It is not intended to fly again but could be returned to flight-test duties if required.

The first three aircraft were produced for the core certification program, requiring extensive test instrumentation for measuring and recording aircraft and systems performance. As that activity winds down, only one of those aircraft – MSN2 – which is fitted with the optimum instrumentation for the remaining work, is now required. In addition, MSN4 and MSN6 (Grizzly 4 and 5 respectively) will continue to support the flight test activities, now concentrated on the further development of military capabilities, with their specific flight test instrumentation.

MSN1 ultimately flew for 1,448 hr, 25 min in 475 flights and its final mission was a one-hour sortie to validate procedures for landing with the ramp and door failed in the open position.

Discussions on its final display site are underway, led by the Airbus Heritage Department, and will lead to a decision next year. The future of the rest of the Grizzly fleet will be decided in due course.

After the flight, chief test pilot, military, Ed Strongman, who commanded the first and last flights, said, “MSN1 has had a relatively short but very arduous life, and it has taken us to the extreme parts of the flight envelope where, I hope, most other A400Ms will not go.

“It has done superb service for Airbus Military and the customers who will benefit from everything that we have learned. It was a great honour for this crew to fly it first on that historic day in 2009, and it is only fitting that the same crew should say good-bye to their old friend, Grizzly 1, today. We trust it will have many more years of productive service, educating the aviation public and inspiring a new generation to seek careers in aerospace.”


Channel Partners