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A400M Flight Test Thread  
User currently offlinemoderators From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 513 posts, RR: 0
Posted (3 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 10947 times:
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This thread is for the discussion of A400M flight tests only. If you wish to post general comments about the A400M (such as speculation of orders, comparisons with other cargo a/c, etc.) please use the dedicated thread that has been established for such discussion.

General A400M Discussion Thread (by moderators Jan 8 2011 in Military Aviation & Space Flight)

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[Edited 2011-01-08 11:30:10]


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65 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineRevelation From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 12564 posts, RR: 25
Reply 1, posted (3 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 10931 times:

On 5 Jan 2011, Aviation Week reports:

Quote:

Meanwhile, the Grizzlies, as the test A400Ms are named, are undergoing intensive flight tests. On Nov. 4, Grizzly 3 dropped paratroopers for the first time, two each from the U.K. and French armed forces, and two from the French flight-test center. By the second week of November, the test aircraft had accumulated more than 800 flight hours. Grizzly 4 was to be delivered by the end of December.

Airbus Military says the flight envelope, artificial icing, velocity of minimum control and velocity minimum unstick tests are complete. Testing of cruise performance, climb, braking and flutter flight were underway at press time. Some military-specific tests such as night-vision operations have been done, and tests for landing on unpaved runways are planned.

The cold-weather and hot-and-high trials take place this year, along with cargo operations and evaluation of the autopilot. “The objective is that we get civil certification before the end of 2011,” Barbara Kracht, a representative of Airbus Military, tells DTI.


I guess they didn't want to mention that Trooper Tom was one of the parachutists?

Ref: PICTURES: Airbus chief Enders makes skydive from A400M

I think it'd be way-cool if they get civil certification before the end of 2011.

I imagine this would help speed up the rest of the testing regime, no?

Otherwise, why make it such a high priority, given that delivery is not set till 2014?


Grizzly 4 takes off



Inspiration, move me brightly!
User currently offlinekeesje From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (3 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 10923 times:

Quoting Revelation (Reply 1):
Otherwise, why make it such a high priority, given that delivery is not set till 2014?

I can only guess unprepared field operations, cargo operations, refuelling helicopters and jets, cold, hot, high, route proofing and ECM etc. testing is going to take time,,


User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21468 posts, RR: 53
Reply 3, posted (3 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 10874 times:

I would also expect that civilian certification is more or less standard procedure with well-known parameters and experience carrying over from the civilian product lines.

The military certifications probably involve bigger challenges and more diverse tests. And I'm sure it simplifies things when during the military testing the prototypes can operate normally in civilian airspace without special provisions and limitations.


User currently offlineRevelation From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 12564 posts, RR: 25
Reply 4, posted (3 years 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 10744 times:

Quoting Klaus (Reply 3):
And I'm sure it simplifies things when during the military testing the prototypes can operate normally in civilian airspace without special provisions and limitations.

Yes, that's what I was thinking when I said:

Quoting Revelation (Reply 1):
I imagine this would help speed up the rest of the testing regime, no?

I was wondering if there were other reasons.

I vaguely recall someone stating that getting military certification was easier if you had civil certification first, but have forgotten the reasons why.

In any case, I'm looking forward to seeing the civil certification by end of this year!



Inspiration, move me brightly!
User currently offlinezeke From Hong Kong, joined Dec 2006, 9105 posts, RR: 75
Reply 5, posted (3 years 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 10736 times:

Quoting Revelation (Reply 4):
I vaguely recall someone stating that getting military certification was easier if you had civil certification first, but have forgotten the reasons why.

It is for 2 reasons, civil certification gives a clear known pathway for life support of the airframe, A/Ds, S/Bs, defect reporting etc, the procedures between the local CAA and EASA are already in place. Once it has a civil TCDS, it can get a civil production certificate, civil export COA, repair stations, parts traceability between countries etc.

The second reason is that military certification is not done that often, and many countries just cannot afforded, nor do they have the skills to do it. Military rules are updated as often, military certification is more related to outcomes and systems where civil certification is more about performance, quality, and safety. Often military certification is not a certification per say at all, it is more like meeting a series of MIL STDs.

The KC-30 received its civil certification first, as well as a civil supplemental TCDS, then it received its military certification from Spain.



We are addicted to our thoughts. We cannot change anything if we cannot change our thinking – Santosh Kalwar
User currently offlineRevelation From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 12564 posts, RR: 25
Reply 6, posted (3 years 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 10733 times:

Thanks, Zeke, that's the exact info I was after.

A follow-on, if I may:

Quoting zeke (Reply 5):
The second reason is that military certification is not done that often, and many countries just cannot afforded, nor do they have the skills to do it.

So would a relatively poor nation wanting A400Ms purchase them with military equipment and just not bother to have a formal military certification process? Or would they tend to use another nation's process as a starting point, and in terms of the on-going rules updates, etc?



Inspiration, move me brightly!
User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12150 posts, RR: 51
Reply 7, posted (3 years 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 10701 times:

Quoting Revelation (Reply 1):
I think it'd be way-cool if they get civil certification before the end of 2011.

I imagine this would help speed up the rest of the testing regime, no?

Otherwise, why make it such a high priority, given that delivery is not set till 2014?
Quoting keesje (Reply 2):
I can only guess unprepared field operations, cargo operations, refuelling helicopters and jets, cold, hot, high, route proofing and ECM etc. testing is going to take time,,
Quoting Klaus (Reply 3):
I would also expect that civilian certification is more or less standard procedure with well-known parameters and experience carrying over from the civilian product lines.

The military certifications probably involve bigger challenges and more diverse tests. And I'm sure it simplifies things when during the military testing the prototypes can operate normally in civilian airspace without special provisions and limitations.

Military aircraft do not need a civilian certificate to operate within the civilian airspace, commerical airports, or anything other than being operated by a commerical airline/enterprise for profit. An example of this would be for fire fighting or commerical cargo operations, possibly carrying paying passengers.

The drive by EADS to get the civilian cert. may indicate plans to offer a civilian version of the A-400. The KC-10 and C-17 have partial civilian certs., but mostly to share parts with commerical aircraft, like engines. The A-400, as far as I know does not currently share any major parts with any other commerical airplane. The CN-235 and C-295 are sold to commerical airlines so they did need a full civilian cert., along with the military cert. Other military aircraft bought after their civilian versions have been in civilian service (B-737NG, A-319CJ, B-757, A-330, A-340, B-707, etc.) only got limited military certifications in their military flight testing (only for the missions they were needed to fly), but in most cases that was well after these airplanes had been in airline service for many years. The Italian KC-767A also got a civilian TCDS (FAA), along with its Italian military cert. The Japanese KC-767J also got a FAA TCDS.

The A-330MRTT was a different story since it will operate (with the RAF) in the civilian realm when not in use by the RAF, but I don't know why it needed one for the RAAF, other than it was a contract specification. Perhaps the RAAF is planning on sharing spares with QF?

I understand that some A-400 military customers wanted the civilian certification, but most of that testing could be done with the military flight testing. I also think the military testing should have been completed first, then complete what ever requirements remained for the civilian certification.


User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21468 posts, RR: 53
Reply 8, posted (3 years 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 10687 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 7):
Military aircraft do not need a civilian certificate to operate within the civilian airspace, commerical airports, or anything other than being operated by a commerical airline/enterprise for profit.

No, but I could imagine that operating a prototype might involve a little more overhead and/or limitations than with a certified aircraft.


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12150 posts, RR: 51
Reply 9, posted (3 years 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 10671 times:

Quoting Klaus (Reply 8):
Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 7):
Military aircraft do not need a civilian certificate to operate within the civilian airspace, commerical airports, or anything other than being operated by a commerical airline/enterprise for profit.

No, but I could imagine that operating a prototype might involve a little more overhead and/or limitations than with a certified aircraft.

All aircraft begin flying as prototypes, including the A-380, B-747-8F/I, and the B-787. When the time comes, the A-350 will begin flying, as a prototype. In the US, commerical aircraft begin flying under an "experimental certificate". The F-35s and A-400s are just prototypes at this point in time.


User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21468 posts, RR: 53
Reply 10, posted (3 years 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 10665 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 9):
All aircraft begin flying as prototypes,

Of course. But only as long as necessary.


User currently offliner2rho From Germany, joined Feb 2007, 2630 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (3 years 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 10543 times:

Quoting Revelation (Reply 1):
I think it'd be way-cool if they get civil certification before the end of 2011.

I imagine this would help speed up the rest of the testing regime, no?

Otherwise, why make it such a high priority, given that delivery is not set till 2014?

Apart from what has been said by the others, don't forget the symbolic meaning of having a certified aircraft:
Towards the customers, you're showing that the design is validated, that your aircraft is mature. "Sure, it doesn't do all the fancy military stuff you asked for yet, but we'll get that sorted out in the following years - with our already [civil] certified aircraft."
Towards the Airbus employees, it gives them a specific target to work towards, and a feeling of accomplishment, which is important in a program that has been dragging on for years and did not seem to have a clear way ahead.


User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21468 posts, RR: 53
Reply 12, posted (3 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 10471 times:

Another side aspect to the civilian certification: It might possibly open the option of beginning delivery of the first production aircraft to customers before the military certification has been completed with not too much inconvenience, providing at least partial capabilities that way until the military certificate is post-issued.

With the last of the test aircraft on its way, there seems to be enough time to get a few of the series models out before military certification is complete.

I don't know if that is really practical, but in light of occasional civilian charters by various forces the thought doesn't look entirely outlandish to me. If the civilian certificate was still missing, would that even be possible at all?


User currently offlinezeke From Hong Kong, joined Dec 2006, 9105 posts, RR: 75
Reply 13, posted (3 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 10419 times:

Quoting Revelation (Reply 6):

So would a relatively poor nation wanting A400Ms purchase them with military equipment and just not bother to have a formal military certification process?

Poor may have nothing to do with it, it could also be that the manufacturer does not give out all the data required to perform the certification. For example the Super Hornets being delivered to Australia are a USN standard build, Boeing does not release the software for the Super Hornet to Australia, so Australia cannot do full certification.

Civil certification is becoming more and more standard, KC-X is required to be civil certified, and I would expect any new helicopter also to be civil certified.

Smaller customers I would expect would use a larger customers build standard, and "accept' their certification. For example I would expect UK, France, Germany, and Spain all to do military certification of the A400M, and a country like Malaysia to use one of the certified build standards.



We are addicted to our thoughts. We cannot change anything if we cannot change our thinking – Santosh Kalwar
User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12150 posts, RR: 51
Reply 14, posted (3 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 10258 times:

Quoting Klaus (Reply 12):
Another side aspect to the civilian certification: It might possibly open the option of beginning delivery of the first production aircraft to customers before the military certification has been completed with not too much inconvenience, providing at least partial capabilities that way until the military certificate is post-issued.

????? The customers are military forces, to them the airplane is useless without the military certification. To the military, the civilian certification is meaningless as there are no military missions that can use the civil cert.


User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21468 posts, RR: 53
Reply 15, posted (3 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 10157 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 14):
The customers are military forces, to them the airplane is useless without the military certification. To the military, the civilian certification is meaningless as there are no military missions that can use the civil cert.

It's not a fighter jet. Military forces use even civilian charters from time to time which most definitely don't have military certifications, so it seemed plausible to me that there could possibly be some better use to the first production aircraft than just standing around at the Airbus facility with a perfectly good civilian certificate.

I'm not saying I definitely expect that to happen, just that it seems plausible.


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12150 posts, RR: 51
Reply 16, posted (3 years 8 months 2 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 9962 times:

Charters are used to additional short term capacity. The military knows these aircraft do not have any military certifications. However, chartered airliners and cargo aircraft for the US DOD must meet strict USAF maintenance standards that exceed those of the FAA.

I still don't see the need for a civil cert for the A-400, or any other military designed aircrat, onless they are also offered as a commerical version. I just wonder why the military customers wanted it when they don't need it.


User currently offlinezeke From Hong Kong, joined Dec 2006, 9105 posts, RR: 75
Reply 17, posted (3 years 8 months 2 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 9862 times:

Given the number of L100s, AN76, AN12, Shorts Belfast etc flying with civil registrations, it seems the market has already stated there is a need for civil operated mid-sized transport, e.g. supporting humanitarian efforts of the UNHCR, Antarctic expeditions, moving large mining equipment in more remote areas.

Having civil certification is providing something that other new build aircraft lack.



We are addicted to our thoughts. We cannot change anything if we cannot change our thinking – Santosh Kalwar
User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21468 posts, RR: 53
Reply 18, posted (3 years 8 months 2 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 9860 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 16):
Charters are used to additional short term capacity. The military knows these aircraft do not have any military certifications. However, chartered airliners and cargo aircraft for the US DOD must meet strict USAF maintenance standards that exceed those of the FAA.

Well, the A400M will certainly be able to meet these requirements in the temporary period between issuance of its commercial and military certificates.

I'm not saying it absolutely should be done – there may be many secondary considerations – just with the tight air transport situations of most customer forces a "civilian" A400M in limited use might still beat these copies sitting around on the tarmac in Seville unused and having to charter Antonovs.


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12150 posts, RR: 51
Reply 19, posted (3 years 8 months 2 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 9825 times:

Quoting Klaus (Reply 18):
Well, the A400M will certainly be able to meet these requirements in the temporary period between issuance of its commercial and military certificates.

Perhaps. But lets not forget the A-400 still has 2-3 years of flight testing before the first one is delivered to France. That will happen after both the civil and military certs. have been given to the airplane. So, I guess this debate of civil and military certs for it are academic.


User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21468 posts, RR: 53
Reply 20, posted (3 years 8 months 2 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 9823 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 19):
Perhaps. But lets not forget the A-400 still has 2-3 years of flight testing before the first one is delivered to France. That will happen after both the civil and military certs.

Any additional flight testing after civilian certification would only go towards military certification and increased capabilities beyond the baseline, wouldn't it?

Would it really be smart to leave the production aircraft assembled in the meantime just wait in storage for that time?

At this point I'd appreciate it if anybody knew what the planning through this stage is actually like at Airbus and their customers.


User currently offlinezeke From Hong Kong, joined Dec 2006, 9105 posts, RR: 75
Reply 21, posted (3 years 8 months 2 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 9777 times:

Quoting Klaus (Reply 20):

At this point I'd appreciate it if anybody knew what the planning through this stage is actually like at Airbus and their customers.

Type certification for the A400M is expected to be achieved this year (2011), initially to be only cleared for medium sized transport operations, software upgrades will provide additional capabilities once approved. First production deliveries are expected in 2012.



We are addicted to our thoughts. We cannot change anything if we cannot change our thinking – Santosh Kalwar
User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21468 posts, RR: 53
Reply 22, posted (3 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 9728 times:

Thanks for the info.

Will the first deliveries be held back until final military certification under the revised schedule?


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12150 posts, RR: 51
Reply 23, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 9611 times:

Quoting Klaus (Reply 22):
Will the first deliveries be held back until final military certification under the revised schedule?

Not that I have seen in the press releases. As I understand it the first A-400 is currently scheduled for delivery somewhere between Dec. 2012 and the end of 1Q2013 to France. So we are about 2 years from seeing the A-400 EIS


User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21468 posts, RR: 53
Reply 24, posted (3 years 8 months 1 week 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 9600 times:

If they're in fact halting production or storing the aircraft until military certification is complete, that would indeed be the end of that idea.

25 zeke : I have heard nothing to that effect. The aircraft that are in production now will be used for flight testing in around 4 months, they will perform th
26 kanban : I have to believe this is "route proving" is jargon for flying into various bases with various sized loads, seeing how far they can go on a tank of f
27 zeke : The reliability route-proving demonstration flights are a requirement for civil certification, it is not a marketing exercise. The A380, 747-BCF, A330
28 kanban : sorry that was the part I missed....
29 KC135TopBoom : As far as 'proving' flights go, for the C-130J and C-17A, they loaded XX tonnes of 'cargo' (usually concrete blocks), with XXXK lbs of fuel, fly for X
30 Post contains links kaitak : A400M goes to Kiruna, Sweden for Winter trials, testing the aircraft at temperatures of -21. http://www.flightglobal.com/articles...dergoes-swedish-wi
31 Post contains images KC135TopBoom : That should be cold enough for the testing. But, why didn't EADS ask to use the USAF cold/hot weather test hanger in Florida? IIRC, Boeing used this
32 overcast : Why should they, surely natural conditions are suitable for this. The use of the Hanger by the 787 was more to do with timing, first flight was too l
33 Klaus : Kiruna is also often very busy in winter with car manufacturers testing their prototypes there. It's basically a major local industry. And of course y
34 SAS A340 : Because there is no need to it,why go to Florida when you have the "real" conditions a few hours away? unless you have to test below -30 C.
35 Post contains images KC135TopBoom : While I agree with that, if they went to Florida, the crews could get some tanning time on the beach. Well, maybe n ot this winter, the SE US has bee
36 kanban : the 7478f is headed to Anchorage but I think Georgia (usa) was colder the other day (humor)
37 Post contains links kanban : looks like refueling trials are in progress article includes a picture http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/ai...400m-starts-tanker-trials-wit.html
38 KC135TopBoom : Well, it seems the flight testing is moving along. When will the A-400 begin taking on fuel from the VC-10?
39 chuchoteur : Not right now... A400M MSN 0001 is not equipped to actually receive fuel, hence the dry contacts only. MSN 0004 is fully equipped and will do the wet
40 KC135TopBoom : Thanks, I did not know MSN 001 can not on-load fuel yet. For any A-400 refueling behind the A-330MRTT, how will the jet exhaust from the CF-6-80Es re
41 328JET : Don´t you think the engine impact of the VC10 is much bigger to the A400M as the four VC10 engines re rear-mounted?
42 Klaus : Isn't the whole point of the boom (among other things) to keep the receiving aircraft below the wake and exhaust turbulence?
43 Post contains images 328JET : We can be very sure that Airbus made some trials before. But you know that some people here try to find design failures of the A400M...
44 Post contains images Klaus : Of course. It would be against the laws of nature if it worked properly.
45 KC135TopBoom : This version of the A-400 does not refuel from the Boom, it refuels from the drogues, which trails higher and further behind the tanker, thus in the
46 overcast : KC get real, I know that you have a great mistrust for everything that isn't US but sometimes...... They are starting to do tests now and have to sta
47 KC135TopBoom : Then why didn't they begin with refueling from French KC-135FRs? France has 50 A-400s on order, more than twice as many as the UK has. France's order
48 A342 : Did you even read what overcast wrote? It could be that the UK has more slack in its VC-10 fleet than France has in its KC135R fleet, simple as that.
49 Post contains images 328JET : They will makes tests with every possible re-fueler of the A400M. They started now with the VC10, they could have started with the a/c which belongs
50 Post contains images chuchoteur : ... As mentioned, the A400M prototypes so far have not had the plumbing to take on fuel, hence the lack of testing so far. However, I can assure you
51 KC135TopBoom : The VC-10 tanker will be long retired by the time the RAF gets its first A-400. I doubt the VC-10 will be refueling many operational French or German
52 Klaus : Likely making it the most conservative starting point, being able to concentrate on the A400's flight controls and handling during approach, coupling
53 KC135TopBoom : Did I say that? All I questioned was using the RAF VC-10, which is getting ready to retire in the next few years and being replaced by the Air Tanker
54 Klaus : Your conclusions would only make sense if that specific test would have been useless, which I doubt. Many flight tests to be done will probably not d
55 KC135TopBoom : I did not say the testing was useless. I only questioned the use of the VC-10. Aerodynamic effects unique to the VC-10 tanker may, or may not yield u
56 Klaus : Do you believe that Airbus engineers are unaware of such differences? And as I said: It is unlikely that the very first tests deal with specifics of
57 kanban : OK guys, agree to disagree... but don't hijack the thread on this one issue... we don't know what the manufacturer is thinking and will probably never
58 Post contains images chuchoteur : ... as mentioned previously, the A400M has flown receiver position on all the aircraft on our flightline aside from the A380. I'm not aware of the po
59 Post contains images Klaus : Well, so much for logical reasoning...!
60 chuchoteur : Alas! And as a matter of fact, I do believe they've flown receiver (without contact) with the German A310 MRTT... To be fair, things will get much mo
61 KC135TopBoom : I agree with that. Thanks for for making it clear.
62 prebennorholm : The trust figures, which you mention here, are max T/O trust figures. The actual trust during refueling is exactly equal to the drag of the tanker pl
63 chuchoteur : Btw, Q3 of last year they started work on unprepared strip landings, taxiing, landing and taking off a runway covered with chalk balls. Went ok as fa
64 Post contains images 328JET : I agree with that. I only wanted to show KC135TopBoom that the operational differences of a VC10 and a A330MRTT during refueling are not so different
65 KC135TopBoom : Yes, I remember that, it was a preliminary test, IIRC, to check for belly damage to the composit skins, antennas, and anticollision light. IIRC it wa
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