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'Sparkling' first flight for A400M

14th December 2009 - 13:00 GMT | by Tony Osborne in Seville

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After months of setbacks and frustration, Airbus' controversial military airlifter, the A400M has finally flown.

Seville's San Pablo airport was the venue and in front of an assembled crowd of defence ministers, contractors, EADS senior executives and journalists from across Europe, the A400M - callsign Grizzly 1 - took to the skies shortly before 10.15am for a flight which lasted three hours 45 mins.

A flight test crew led by former Royal Air Force C-130 Hercules pilot, Ed Strongman took the aircraft through a range of flight regimes and pushed the aircraft up to its top speed of 300 kts …

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