When I was hired for this Airbus A400M communications contract, I was told early on “it’ll be good if you can liaise closely with the test pilot – Ed Strongman (seen left discussing the flight with his British customers) – very nice chap, you’ll like him”. What I quietly thought was “Oh Lord…”. Here’s the story.
So a few days into my time here in Seville the time came when Ed had a moment in his frantic schedule and we agreed to meet for an introductory chat. We’d not met before. So I wandered down to the flight-test building and we had a good conversation about how the first taxying trial had gone, what was coming up next, and how the programme in general was going.
We chatted briefly about my “previous incarnation” and so on – all very cordial, but I knew what was coming next. I was half rising to leave when the dread words came “talking about your previous incarnation as it were, Kieran….” I sat down again.
What Ed was referring to was this post on the old Flight International blog way back in May 2006 when the A380 visited London for the first time. And specifically the view I, with my 150 total jet hours, expressed of the landing conducted by him with his, errm, 11,000 total hours, 7,000 as a test pilot.
Suffice it to say neither his view of the landing at the time, nor his recollection of it today, accords with my smartass description of it. And as it happens the Sky News movie of it that I linked to at the time seems to have disappeared. But it’s a fair bet that his assessment of it was more accurate than mine.
Ed is about the most polite man in aviation. Which frankly made me feel even worse.
For the record, I watched today’s landing on the big screen mounted here in the Seville hangar for the day and, try as I might to find evidence of a minor balls-up, I couldn’t.
The moral of the story is hideously obvious.