PICTURE: A400M has high time in La Paz

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Airbus Military has reported good early progress during high-altitude testing with the A400M transport in Bolivia.

Conducted from El Alto airport, near La Paz, the flights above 13,000ft (4,000m) were intended to assess the performance of the four-engined airlifter in low air density conditions.

"High-altitude testing is a critical part of the overall flight-test programme, which will ensure that we deliver on our performance guarantees to customers," says Fernando Alonso, Airbus head of flight and integration tests. "The early results from these trials have been very positive."

 

© S Ramadier/Airbus Military

The first A400M to visit Latin America, development aircraft "Grizzly 2", made other flights from a high-altitude runway in Cochabamba, Bolivia, before making an appearance in the static display at the FIDAE air show in Santiago, Chile. The aircraft's arrival at the latter event also marked the 1,000th flight to have been logged by Airbus Military's five-strong test fleet.

France is due to receive the first production A400M by the end of March 2013, with the aircraft's TP400-D6 engines scheduled to be delivered by the Europrop International consortium on 17 April.