As the next-generation A400M continues its certification evaluations, all five of the programme’s flight test aircraft took to the sky this week for a unique formation flight performed by the Airbus Flight Test teams. The exercise originated from Toulouse, France, and provided many impressive visuals. Once completed, each aircraft returned to its individual testing activities – which include evaluations for handling quality (performed by A400M test aircraft MSN1), wing pod hose stability (MSN2), engine performance (MSN3), pressurisation and oxygen (MSN4), and function and reliability (MSN6).
News in brief
The five A400M test aircraft complete an impressive formation flight
Airbus employees on the move for “cycle to work” week
To mark Europe’s bicycle week, nearly 1,500 Airbus employees at the company’s Toulouse, France-area facilities used this two-wheel means of transport in May for their travel to work – with many posing for a family photo at the A350 XWB final assembly line. “Cycle to work” activities also were organised at other worldwide Airbus facilities in recognition of the European bicycle week.
The A400M begins unpaved runway evaluations in Germany
Airbus Military has opened rough field testing for its new-generation A400M airlifter, beginning with a set of unpaved runway evaluations performed at Cottbus-Drewitz airfield in Germany. These initial trials were competed on grass surface, and included maximum-braked rejected takeoff operations, as the A400M moves closer to its civil and military type certification.
A400M makes first refuelling contacts with an A330 MRTT
Airbus Military’s new-generation A400M airlifter has demonstrated its refuelling compatibility with the company’s A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport, successfully completing a series of 30 “dry contacts” with the tanker aircraft’s hose and drogue system. This testing – which utilised an A330 MRTT to be delivered to the UK Royal Air Force – also highlighted the stability of both aircraft when flying in close formation and during the simulated refuelling contacts.
The A400M is awarded key certification from European Aviation Safety Agency
Airbus Military has received the initial type certification for its new-generation A400M airlifter, with this first approval – known as a Restricted Type Certificate – presented by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) today in Toulouse, France. This milestone marks an important step toward the A400M’s full civil type certification – which is anticipated for mid-2012 – as well as the aircraft’s military Initial Operating Clearance later in the year.
New agreement extends Airbus research and technology efforts in the U.S.
Airbus has further expanded its research and technology (R&T) activities in the United States through a six-year renewal agreement signed with the Hampton, Virginia-based National Institute of Aerospace. This accord follows completion of a previous six-year agreement, during which over $6 million in R&T grants were distributed to support more than 50 researchers from major U.S. universities – providing funding for projects that span a broad technical scope.
The Royal Australian Air Force carries its most passengers ever with the A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport
The Airbus Military-produced A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport has marked a new operational milestone for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), carrying a record number of passengers for the military service during a single flight. This sortie – flown last month as part of the aircraft’s service introduction with the RAAF’s 33 Squadron – transported 220 passengers from the Australian Defence Force Academy, as well as its 14 crew members, on a two-hour flight from Defence Establishment Fairbairn. The A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport configuration selected by the RAAF can accommodate 270 passengers in total.
The A400M showcases new-generation capabilities during ongoing Asian tour
Asian nations are receiving a first-hand look at the A400M as this next-generation airlifter continues its 14-20 April tour of the region. The aircraft began its circuit with a touchdown in Malaysia that also marked the A400M’s milestone initial appearance in Asia. During this three-day stopover, government and military representatives for Malaysia – which is one of eight current A400M customer nations – were shown the aircraft’s range of advanced capabilities on the ground and in flight. The A400M today arrived at its latest tour destination – Jakarta, Indonesia – where it will make local flights with government and air force personnel, to be followed by the airlifter’s static display at the country’s Halim Airbase.
Putting a priority on inspiring the high fliers of tomorrow
The Airbus Corporate Foundation is expanding two programmes aimed at helping young people from disadvantaged backgrounds realise their full potential. The organization’s “Flying Challenge” – which is being piloted at Bellefontaine College in the Toulouse, France area with The United Way charity – inspires students aged 13-15 through strong mentoring relationships; while the Foundation’s pilot initiative with the Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center – launched in 2011 in Alabama, USA – welcomes employee volunteers from the Airbus engineering site in Mobile to share their expertise with students.
Airbus Military’s A330 MRTT begins its service career with the UK Royal Air Force
The Airbus Military A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) has entered service with the UK Royal Air Force, performing a training sortie on 8 April from the RAF Brize Norton facility – the military service´s primary transport/tanker base. This first operational UK aircraft, along with 13 others on order, are being supplied to AirTanker, which is the company created to operate and support the UK’s A330 MRTT fleet. Overall, a total of 28 A330 MRTTs have been ordered by four customers: the United Kingdom, Australia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.