Everyone from the CEO of Airbus Military, Domingo Ureña, through to the King of Spain, Juan Carlos I, expressed their satisfaction and pride in the team of pilots and crew which has ensured the success of the first flight of the A400M, the most modern and technologically advanced military airlifter in the world. “I would like to congratulate Ed Strongman, Nacho Lombo and all of the flight test team for completing the first flight of the A400M with great success”, highlighted Ureña, who also wished to thank all the workers of Airbus Military and their families for the efforts made.
The CEO of EADS Louis Gallois also wished to thank “everyone who participated in the flight of the A400M”, particularly the workers and the flight crew, while Tom Enders, CEO of Airbus, highlighted that "we have a fantastic team, the best flight test team for these types of tests in the aeronautical industry". King Juan Carlos also expressed his “warmest congratulations to everyone for the magnificent result achieved, in particular the pilots and the crew on the first flight of this aircraft”. The maiden flight of the A400M was piloted by a six-man crew consisting of two pilots and four flight test engineers.
The English pilot Edward "Ed" Strongman, Chief Test Pilot at Airbus Military, captained the first flight, supported by the Spanish pilot Ignacio “Nacho” Lombo, an experimental test pilot recently appointed head of Airbus Military’s Flight Unit. Another four French engineers completed the crew: Jean-Philippe Cottet, senior flight test engineer responsible for the power plants; Eric Isorce, senior flight test engineer responsible for the aircraft systems and performance; Didier Ronceray, senior flight test engineer responsible for the handling qualities of the aircraft; and flight test engineer Gérard Leskerpit.
Between them, this crew has logged more than 31,000 flight hours. Apart from the crew, mention must also be made of the team of mechanics and runway technicians and the control and monitoring team for the flight of the A400M, which was supervised by the head of test flights at Airbus, the Spaniard Fernando Alonso.