On the 20th December 2010, the fourth Airbus Military A400M military airlifter has made its first flight. Known as Grizzly 4, the aircraft took off from Seville, Spain with a weight of 130 tonnes at 10h18 local time (GMT+1) and landed five hours and ten minutes later.
On 13 November 2010 the A400M Programme Manager (PM) Bruno Delannoy jumped from the A400M aircraft, as part of a group of 10 parachutists from various nationalities, and including Tom Enders (Airbus CEO). This jump was not part of any particular test as the official jumping test took place some days before. All was prepared for last Saturday morning in a place called La Juliana which is a drop zone surrounded by olive trees near Seville. The weather, as usual in Seville, was perfect for a jump.
Last week of October has been a record week for the A400M flight test. After some weeks where flying activities were much reduced because of maintenance and performance improvement works, the three Grizzlies have waked up stronger and have recovered in one shot their target schedule. As result of this effort, some records have been reached. The two first records are number of flights (20) and flying hours (62) in a week. These figures pushed total number of flights to 230 and total number of flying hours to 773.5. On the other hand, MSN002 reached 100 flights and catch MSN001, ending the week with a total of 97 flights.
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.