Last 8 April the second A400M military airlifter by Airbus Military made its maiden flight from Seville airport, next to the company’s site at San Pablo. It successfully completed all the different tests and trials as part of the campaign which has been under way since last December with the first models of this aircraft. Known as MSn2, the aircraft left Seville airport at 15:15 with a take-off weight of 128 tonnes and landed four hours and 50 minutes later. The flight was captained by experimental test pilot Michel Gag- neux, who was accompanied by the pilot Karl-Heinz Mai, the flight test engineers Jean-Jacques Bernard and Emiliano Requeña and test flight engineer Gérard Maisonneuve.

The crew confirmed that the aircraft and its four Europrop International TP400D turboprop engines performed in line with expectations. The MSn2 joins its sister aircraft, the MSn1, which is now based in Toulouse and has already completed 66.5 flight hours over the course of 15 flights. The head of flight operations at Airbus, Fernando Alonso, declared that “having MSn2 join the flying programme is excel- lent news which enables us to speed up the accumulation of flight hours. This flight has confirmed yet again that it is a highly capable aircraft with the potential to transform military and civil transport operations.”

The MSn2 is the second of five aircraft which will conduct the 3,700 hour flight test programme to be completed before the first delivery to customers. The second A400M will mainly be used for aircraft and power plant performance tests, while the MSn1 will continue to be used for clearance of the air- craft and power plant flight envelope, loads, the aircraft’s response to flutter (a kind of aero-elastic vibration) and its handling qualities. The third A400M will be ready to fly in early summer and the fourth aircraft will join the programme by the end of the year.