Counting down to A400M delivery

During briefings at Airbus Military’s San Pablo site in Seville today, A400M programme head Cedric Gautier confirmed plans to deliver the first production example to France in the coming weeks.

Paperwork leading to the new airlifter’s entry into service is still being finalised, but the formal production acceptance test process has been completed.

For the Paris air show, we can expect to see a French air force Atlas take part in the glitzy opening flypast, but it’s not yet certain whether that will be MSN7 or MSN8, which should make its flight debut during the first week of June. The customer aircraft will then go on static display, with Airbus Military pilots to perform displays through the week using a Grizzly development aircraft.

The key target, though is to have the first aircraft delivered before Bastille Day in mid-July.

As a treat, the multinational press corps in Seville this week just got the chance to fly in Grizzly 4, with company test pilots Nacho Lombo and Tony Flynn at the controls. Our 40min sortie was made along the coast, and yes, the aircraft is still very quiet. But tf course, other Western transport aircraft are also available.

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