A400M clears key certification tests, says Airbus

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Airbus Military's A400M has cleared two significant hurdles on the way to securing civil type certification before the end of this year.

Separate activities were conducted in mid-September to clear the European airlifter's high-energy rejected take-off test, and also on emergency evacuation procedures.

Performed on 17 September in Toulouse, France, using development aircraft MSN1, or "Grizzly 1", the braking system test involved accelerating the A400M to its V1 decision speed at its maximum take-off weight of 141,000kg (310,900lb), before aborting the take-off. The aircraft was taxied clear of the runway and stopped for 5min before firefighters were allowed to cool its brakes and wheels.

"As is typical in this test, three of the aircraft's tyres deflated," Airbus Military said in a 22 September statement. "There was no further damage and the test was highly successful."

 
© Airbus Military

Meanwhile, aircraft MSN6 was employed for emergency evacuation tests, undertaken over a series of days at the company's San Pablo final assembly site near Seville, Spain.

"All the tests required for certification were passed," Airbus Military said, citing activities as having encompassed the carriage of conventional troops and paratroopers, and in medical evacuation and mixed troop/cargo configurations.

 
© Airbus Military

The company has established a target of securing civil type certification for the A400M from the European Aviation Safety Agency before the end of 2011.

This is a key step towards it launching deliveries of the Europrop International TP400-D6-engined type in early 2013.

"These are vital tests to satisfy highly specific certification requirements," said Airbus head of flight operations Fernando Alonso. "We look forward to more strong progress in the next few weeks."