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A400M flies for third time

The Airbus Military A400M airlifter has flown for the third time as the flight-test programme for the type picks up pace after the year-end break.

In a two hour 25 minute sortie from Seville, Spain, on 7th January, the test crew concentrated on exploring flight in different aircraft configurations.

The aircraft, known as MSN1, has now completed nine hours and 20 minutes flying.

Test pilot Michel Gagneux became the third pilot to fly the aircraft, supporting Captain Nacho Lombo. Airbus head of flight operations Fernando Alonso also flew on the aircraft for the first time, acting as flight test engineer.

Mr Alonso said: "It was a very satisfying moment to take part in this successful third flight. We made considerable progress in further exploring the aircraft's behaviour in different configurations and were pleased with what we saw. The flight programme is progressing well and in the days ahead, now that the operational flight envelope has been cleared, we will be flying regularly further evaluating the aircraft's handling characteristics and doing initial systems evaluations ."

The rhythm of flight testing is expected to increase substantially in the coming days. Overall, 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.

Press release issued by Airbus Military on January 11, 2010


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