The first A400M (MSN1) was transferred last 9 March from Seville to Toulouse after successfully completing the tenth of a series of flights carried out in the surroundings of Seville which began on 11 December 2009. The aircraft logged a total of 39 flying hours during the tests carried out in Seville, with adverse weather conditions preventing any further flights by the airlifter.
During the course of these first tests, the MSN1 flew at its maximum operating speed of 300 knots (555 km/h) and an altitude of more than 9,144 metres (30,000 ft.). It has also operated extensively in both direct and normal laws and in different configurations. The first A400M is equipped with heavy test instrumentation, as is the second aircraft which was delivered to the Flight Test Centre last 6 March and will carry out its maiden flight in the coming weeks.
The MSN3, meanwhile, is already in the final phase of ground tests prior to the installation of the engines. This aircraft will be ready to fly by the middle of this year. The fourth model, the MSN4, has already begun assembly in the plant at San Pablo. While the MSN 1 and 2 are fitted with heavy test instrumentation, the third and fourth models will only have medium test instrumentation.
The fifth aircraft, MSN6, will be the first built to production standards and will only have light test instrumentation.
The five aircraft will carry out a total of 3,700 flying hours during tests prior to the first delivery of the A400M in late 2012. The trials for the MSN 1, 3 and 6 will be carried out in Toulouse, and those of the MSN 2 and 4 will be performed in Seville, enabling greater flexibility to take advantage of optimum weather conditions.