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Airbus A400M taxis for first time

The Airbus Military A400M airlifter has moved under its own power for the first time as the aircraft began its programme of taxying tests.

Confirming the rapid progress being achieved in the test programme, aircraft msn 01 completed further engine runs on 23 November and was then taxied on the manoeuvring 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 20kt (37km/hr), the crew tested the normal, alternate and emergency braking systems; the anti-skid system; and the nosewheel steering and reverse power. Manoeuvres conducted during the 90 minute sortie included 180o turns and taxying in reverse.

Chief Test Pilot Military Ed Strongman said: "We were impressed with the ease with which we could taxi the aircraft in terms of the precision and ease of use of the nosewheel steering and the effectiveness of the braking systems in this first test at low speed."

The latest milestone followed several days of engine and systems tests during which its 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.

Taxying tests at increasingly high speeds are expected to be carried out in the coming days.

Press release issued by Airbus Defence & Space HQ on November 24, 2009


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