August 2010 - Grizzlies reaching 500 flying hours
During the first week of August the Grizzlies reached 500 flying hours, comprising almost 150 flights since the first flight of MSN (Manufacturer’s Serial Number) 001 past 11 December 2009. MSN001 flew 80 times, MSN002 flew 56 and MSN003, with the first flight being held past 09 July, already flew 11 times. During this time, the Grizzlies have participated with great success in the Berlin ILA Show (MSN001) and in Farnborough International Airshow (MSN002) where a formal naming ceremony was also held. The three first prototypes are in flight, with the forth aircraft being assembled in Seville, planning for its first flight at the end of the year. The plan includes five prototypes for test activities. Two crews from Nations have already participated in test flights.
Some spectacular tests were held, as can be seen in the third picture, the aircraft making high-speed runs on a layer of chalk balls (in Francazal, France) used to simulate a rough surface in preparation for rough field trials planned for later this year to ensure that the aircraft and procedures are ready for the real rough fields. Another important and spectacular test was made in Getafe with the MSN5000, which is the aircraft used for structural tests. The test was called the ultimate-load up-bend test for wings and was completed successfully. The wingtips of the full-size A400M static test specimen moved upwards 1.41m (4.6ft) during the test, as also can be seen in the