New A400M development aircraft takes flight
The fifth Airbus Military A400M military airlifter has made its first flight, marking the end of a highly successful year for the programme. According to a 22 December 2011 company statement, the full fleet of Grizzly development aircraft is now in the air, bringing the flight-test programme to a close.
Known as Grizzly 5, the aircraft took off from Seville, Spain with a take-off weight of 125 tonnes at 08:55 local time (GMT+1) and landed back at Seville 2 hours 10 minutes later.
According to Airbus Military, Grizzly 5 is the final member of the fleet which has now completed more than 2,500 hours of the 3,700 hour flight-test programme leading to first delivery. It carries a light flight-test instrumentation load and will be primarily dedicated to electromagnetic interference (EMI)-testing, cargo development, operational demonstrations and extreme cold weather trials.
During 2011 the A400M has successfully completed an extremely intensive test schedule and the aircraft has now been flown by more than 60 pilots. The key high-energy rejected take-off test has been passed as well as emergency evacuations in different configurations. Crosswind and wet runway testing is complete, and so is testing with artificial ice shapes fitted to the wings.
All stalling and braking tests have been passed, together with cruise performance, and the minimum unstick speed (Vmu), minimum control speed on ground (Vmcg) and minimum control speed in the air (Vmca) tests are also complete.
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