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PICTURES: A400M completes low-speed take-off tests

Airbus Military has completed low-speed take-off tests with its A400M transport, with the work having provided a spectacular photo opportunity using one of its development aircraft.

Performed at Istres in southern France, the process was intended to determine the A400M’s minimum unstuck speed – the lowest at which it can safely take off.

“The aircraft’s nose was raised until a special ‘bumper’ fitted to the rear fuselage struck the ground at the maximum pitch-up angle of 13º,” Airbus Military says. The result exceeds its earlier assumption of a 12º limit which had been projected following previous tests conducted late last year.


Both images © Airbus Military

Four of an eventual five development aircraft are now involved in a range of flight test activities ahead of the A400M’s entry into operational use. Airbus Military should deliver its first of a current 174 production examples under contract in late 2012 or early 2013.

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