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keesje
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A400M Flight Test Prototypes

Mon Jan 04, 2010 4:48 pm

The flight test program has started & I think the previous first flight thread (>350 replies) is getting a bit long ( http://www.airliners.net/aviation-forums/military/read.main/114092/ ) so I guess starting a new one is OK.



Aviation week has a nice article/interview; http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/gener...l=defense&id=news/A2010-123009.xml

A short summary of the aircraft and their purposes:

MSN001 is heavily fitted with wiring and will be used for about 1,200 flight test hours, largely focused on expanding the flight envelope.



MSN002 (first flight March 2010). The aircraft will largely be used for performance and engine certification activities, as well as work on the defensive aids subsystem.

MSN003 (first flight May '10) is to be used to validate the performance of the autopilot, navigation and fuel systems, hydraulics and other items.

MSN004 (first flight Q1 '11) is supposed to validate cargo operations and airborne refueling



MSN006 (first flight mid '11), first production standard aircraft, will have light instrumentation only, and is to be used largely for long-range proving.

Airbus Military hopes to receive type certification for the aircraft around December 2011, with initial operating clearance to permit basic logistics tasks to follow by 2012. The first production delivery would take place by the end of 2012.
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spantax
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RE: A400M Flight Test Prototypes

Wed Jan 06, 2010 3:45 pm

A Belgian newspaper speculates today about the possibility of Belgium leaving the A400 program, due to financial problems. Yesterday the Belgian Air Force A330 had to be replaced by another leased ac, an A310 I think, for a flight to Afghanistan with troops.
A300.10.19.20.21.30.40,AN26,ATR42,AVR146,B717.27.37.47.57.77,B1900,C130,C212,CH47,CRJ200.700,DC9,DHC4,ERJ135.190,F27
 
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keesje
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RE: A400M Flight Test Prototypes

Sat Jan 09, 2010 12:06 am

The third flight thursday lasted 2 hours 15 minutes. More flights scheduled in the next few days.
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cmb56
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RE: A400M Flight Test Prototypes

Sat Jan 09, 2010 12:23 am

Personal opinion here. I just love the look of the A400 and do hope that success in that program can be found. It will be a tough road to get there though. I particpated in a number of customer meetings on the A380 and was really in love with the aircraft but that order didn't go through and likely won't ever now. I would really have liked to work on that aircraft.
I have spent 25 some years in commercial aviation and have found a lot of what I feel is misplaced brand loyalty in the industry. I got into aviation because I loved airplanes and didn't care who made them, I would work on them. I've worked on BAE, Airbus, Boeing, Douglas, Swedish, Brazilian, etc. I liked them all. Most of the people I work with in the business are more interested in cars, motorcycles, or boats. Aviation is not their interest, it's how they earn a paycheck.

I will say I would rather spend a week in Toulouse than a week in Everett any day.
 
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keesje
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RE: A400M Flight Test Prototypes

Mon Jan 11, 2010 5:25 pm

FlightGlobal overview of test program & prototypes.

http://www.flightglobal.com/assets/getAsset.aspx?ItemID=31998
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kc135topboom
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RE: A400M Flight Test Prototypes

Mon Jan 11, 2010 7:19 pm



Quoting Keesje (Thread starter):
MSN001



Quoting Keesje (Thread starter):
MSN002



Quoting Keesje (Thread starter):
MSN003



Quoting Keesje (Thread starter):
MSN004



Quoting Keesje (Thread starter):
MSN006

Do you know what the plans are for MSN005?
 
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Revelation
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RE: A400M Flight Test Prototypes

Mon Jan 11, 2010 7:47 pm



Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 5):
Do you know what the plans are for MSN005?

They were originally going to have 6 test birds, but now are only going to have 5, so I presume MSN005 is being skipped.
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PolymerPlane
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RE: A400M Flight Test Prototypes

Mon Jan 11, 2010 9:18 pm

13 months between certification and delivery?
One day there will be 100% polymer plane
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: A400M Flight Test Prototypes

Tue Jan 12, 2010 2:12 pm



Quoting Revelation (Reply 6):
Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 5):
Do you know what the plans are for MSN005?


They were originally going to have 6 test birds, but now are only going to have 5, so I presume MSN005 is being skipped

Thanks

Quoting PolymerPlane (Reply 7):
13 months between certification and delivery?

Yes, on top of a 36 month certification/flight test program. I guess EADS wants to be consistant in their 48 month to 60 month delivery delays.

 duck   duck   duck 
 
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keesje
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RE: A400M Flight Test Prototypes

Thu Jan 14, 2010 11:33 pm

Airbus prepares to ground first A400M to fit additional test kit – including rockets

Airbus is about to briefly ground its first A400M flight-test aircraft to install additional test equipment, including rockets to assist with stall-testing, before continuing with trials in February.

http://www.flightglobal.com/articles...additional-test-kit-including.html
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A342
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RE: A400M Flight Test Prototypes

Sat Jan 23, 2010 6:02 pm

The flight test programme seems to be doing well:

"Airbus: 'zero major issues' from A400M flight tests"

http://www.flightglobal.com/articles...ssues-from-a400m-flight-tests.html
Exceptions confirm the rule.
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: A400M Flight Test Prototypes

Sat Jan 23, 2010 6:58 pm



Quoting A342 (Reply 10):
"Airbus: 'zero major issues' from A400M flight tests"

The nose gear buffeting could be a major problem, or it could be minor.

What about the engine problem on FF? Has that shown up on any other test flights?
 
A342
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RE: A400M Flight Test Prototypes

Sat Jan 23, 2010 10:12 pm



Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 11):
The nose gear buffeting could be a major problem, or it could be minor.

It occured on a rather large number of aircraft and was always solved quickly, so that's minor.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 11):
What about the engine problem on FF?

Which would that be?
Do you mean this?

"The propulsion system's full authority digital engine control software has performed "quite well", according to Strongman, with a minor software problem which had affected one channel having been traced and a work-around procedure established."
Exceptions confirm the rule.
 
474218
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RE: A400M Flight Test Prototypes

Sun Jan 24, 2010 12:59 am



Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 5):
Do you know what the plans are for MSN005?

Why does Airbus skip serial numbers?
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: A400M Flight Test Prototypes

Sun Jan 24, 2010 2:05 pm



Quoting A342 (Reply 12):
Which would that be?
Do you mean this?

"The propulsion system's full authority digital engine control software has performed "quite well", according to Strongman, with a minor software problem which had affected one channel having been traced and a work-around procedure established."

That may be the same as this;

http://in.reuters.com/article/marketsNewsUS/idINBAT00506120100123
 
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RE: A400M Flight Test Prototypes

Mon Jan 25, 2010 3:46 pm



Quoting A342 (Reply 10):
The flight test programme seems to be doing well:

Looks like there's been at least one glitch:

A400M maiden flight had technical glitch:

Quote:
The Airbus A400M military transport plane experienced a software glitch during its first test flight in December, but the problem was minor, the European planemaker said Sunday.

The technical glitch was not reported when the four-engine turboprop aircraft -- over-budget and behind schedule -- made its maiden flight Dec. 11. Airbus' comments came after the German weekly Der Spiegel reported on the problem this weekend, citing confidential documents from engine maker Europrop.

The issue was with the software controlling the engines and has been fixed, Airbus spokesman Jaime Perez-Guerra said. The software glitch led the pilots to disengage an engine, meaning that its blades turn freely. The plane has since logged nearly 30 hours of flight and is performing above expectations, he said.

I'm glad the problem has been resolved.

Since she landed with all four turning and burning, I wonder if a reset of the computer fixed it?

And of course it's interesting to note the problem came from the famous engine software, and that EADS didn't report it till after Der Spiegel broke the story.
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GRIVely
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RE: A400M Flight Test Prototypes

Mon Jan 25, 2010 7:03 pm

As VP of an engineering company making space-rated hardware I have yet to meet any software problem that could be characterized as "minor." Our experience, and that of all companies involved in the aerospace business that we work with, is that fixing software always takes at least three times as long and costs us twice as much money as the most pessimistic engineering estimates.

Good luck to Airbus and its partners on tracking down, isolating, fixing, testing, certifying, implementing, deploying, and training on the new software changes. Hope there is plenty of money and time in the budget to accommodate the requisite fixes.

Cheers,

the GRIV
 
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RE: A400M Flight Test Prototypes

Tue Jan 26, 2010 12:30 pm

hmm looks like a cross between the C-130 and C-17
SRA Michael Mays, USAF
 
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RE: A400M Flight Test Prototypes

Tue Jan 26, 2010 4:04 pm

Here's a report posted today.

AWST: First A400M Flight Phase Goes Well

Executive summary:
- In general, things are going well
- MSN001 is going into the hangar till mid-February for minor airframe modifications and fixes to the engine control software
- Also a rocket recovery system will be installed to aid in assessment of stall characteristics
- During the layup the rear of the engine nacelle may be changed to deal with an overheating issue
- There is an intermittent problem with the FADEC
- Occasionally one of the channels is rejected
- This is due to an incompatibility between a processor board and the FADEC operating system
- This will be fixed during the layup
- There is an issue with buffet when nose gear is deployed at higher speeds
- When the first of the two gear door opens, air rushes into the nose gear cavity
- It may be addressed by using strakes or by putting small holes into the doors
- There also is a small but irregular movement of the main gear once deployed

So it seems the usual kinds of gremlins are being chased.
Inspiration, move me brightly! Light the song with sense and color.
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kc135topboom
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RE: A400M Flight Test Prototypes

Tue Jan 26, 2010 4:44 pm



Quoting Revelation (Reply 18):
So it seems the usual kinds of gremlins are being chased.

Out of that, I see the engine overheat problem and the nose gear problems to need some redesign work and engineering.

I do have a question on the FADEC problems, why didn't they know about it and fix it before FF?
 
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RE: A400M Flight Test Prototypes

Tue Jan 26, 2010 5:11 pm



Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 19):
I do have a question on the FADEC problems, why didn't they know about it and fix it before FF?

I wish the AWST reporter asked that question. Clearly they did a whole bunch of full power run-ups and taxi tests before FF and it seems the problem didn't show up there AFAIK. The full report described the problem as being 'intermittent", which of course is the worst kind to debug.
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RE: A400M Flight Test Prototypes

Thu Jan 28, 2010 10:18 pm



Quoting Revelation (Reply 20):
Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 19):
I do have a question on the FADEC problems, why didn't they know about it and fix it before FF?

I wish the AWST reporter asked that question. Clearly they did a whole bunch of full power run-ups and taxi tests before FF and it seems the problem didn't show up there AFAIK. The full report described the problem as being 'intermittent", which of course is the worst kind to debug.

I find it hard to believe the FADEC problems showed up for the very first time on the FF for the A-400M. EADS flight tested the engine and FADEC softwear several times on the C-130K test bed? What about all those ground engine tests and taxi tests of the A-400M?

Something smells very bad about all of this.  wideeyed 
 
flyingwaeldar
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RE: A400M Flight Test Prototypes

Wed Mar 10, 2010 3:50 am

It seems the first A400M has been transferred to Toulouse for further testing and the second test plane was handed over to the flight test department on March 6th.

Source:

http://www.airbus.com/en/myairbus/headlinenews/index.jsp

It seems that flight testing is slowly building up steam and I'm looking forward for further news and milestones reached.
 
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RE: A400M Flight Test Prototypes

Wed Mar 10, 2010 7:36 am

Quoting Flyingwaeldar (Reply 22):
It seems the first A400M has been transferred to Toulouse for further testing and the second test plane was handed over to the flight test department on March 6th.

Bigger pictures here:
http://www.aviation-friends-hamburg-forum.de/showthread.php?tid=1691
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flyingwaeldar
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RE: A400M Flight Test Prototypes

Wed Mar 10, 2010 8:55 am

Quoting SpeedyGonzales (Reply 23):
Bigger pictures here:
http://www.aviation-friends-hamburg-...=1691

And the South African flag is still there....................
 
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keesje
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RE: A400M Flight Test Prototypes

Wed Mar 10, 2010 9:14 am

Quoting Flyingwaeldar (Reply 22):
It seems the first A400M has been transferred to Toulouse for further testing and the second test plane was handed over to the flight test department on March 6th.

Good thing. a.net info coverage is much better from TLS then from Sevilla..

The most recent picture in the data base are from december & Airbus also has kept quiet

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RE: A400M Flight Test Prototypes

Wed Mar 10, 2010 12:45 pm

Quoting Flyingwaeldar (Reply 22):
It seems the first A400M has been transferred to Toulouse for further testing and the second test plane was handed over to the flight test department on March 6th.

As for the rest there is a slightly different press release floating around:

Quote:

The first A400M is equipped with heavy test instrumentation, as is the second aircraft which was handed over to Flight Test on 6th March and is due to fly in the next few weeks. MSN 3 is undergoing final production ground tests before engine installation. The aircraft is due to fly by the middle of this year. Sections for MSN 4 have arrived in Seville for final assembly, with the main fuselage due to leave Bremen and be flown to Seville at the end of this week. MSN 4 is to fly in the second half of this year.

While MSN 1 and 2 are fitted with heavy test instrumentation, MSN 3 and 4 will have medium test instrumentation. The fifth aircraft, MSN6, which is the first built to production standards, is going to be fitted with light test instrumentation only. The five aircraft will perform a planned 3,700 flight-hours before first delivery of the A400M in late 2012. Trials with MSN1, 3 and 6 will be performed in Toulouse, while those with MSN 2 and 4 will be done in Seville, providing greater flexibility and taking advantage of best weather conditions where available.

Ref: http://www.defpro.com/news/details/13658/

So we shall have the third some time relatively soon, the fourth by the end of 2010 and the fifth "production standard" at some (intentionally?) unspecified date after the end of 2010 but before the end of 2012.

Quoting keesje (Reply 25):
Good thing. a.net info coverage is much better from TLS then from Sevilla..

It seems TLS has more favorable weather. Go figure....
Inspiration, move me brightly! Light the song with sense and color.
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keesje
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RE: A400M Flight Test Prototypes

Fri Mar 26, 2010 8:59 am

The second prototype has run the engines, started taxi tests and is expected to fly shortly.

Medium speed RTO can be seen at: http://www.a400m.com/Multimedia/VideoGallery.aspx

It was scheduled for first flight in march, Airbus says the first flight is within weeks, so may be some delay for first flight of #2..
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kc135topboom
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RE: A400M Flight Test Prototypes

Fri Mar 26, 2010 1:29 pm

Dispite what I think of the A-400, it is good to see the flight test program moving forward again, finally.
 
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keesje
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RE: A400M Flight Test Prototypes

Tue Mar 30, 2010 12:40 pm

#3

http://www.a400m.com/Portals/1/Gallery/03182010_03_Low.jpg

It will mostly be used for systems validation.
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kc135topboom
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RE: A400M Flight Test Prototypes

Tue Mar 30, 2010 2:08 pm

Quoting keesje (Reply 29):
#3

Do you know when she will be ready to begin her flight testing?

Quoting keesje (Reply 29):
It will mostly be used for systems validation.

Correct, and I believe this will be the first prototype that will also validate the range charts, but without a full cargo load. I believe that will be prototype #5.
 
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keesje
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RE: A400M Flight Test Prototypes

Fri Apr 09, 2010 9:18 am

#2, yesterday. Flight completed after 4 hrs 50 minutes.



Video: http://www.a400m.com/Multimedia/VideoGallery.aspx

[Edited 2010-04-09 02:25:34]
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kc135topboom
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RE: A400M Flight Test Prototypes

Fri Apr 09, 2010 1:12 pm

Quoting keesje (Reply 31):
#2, yesterday. Flight completed after 4 hrs 50 minutes.

Thanks for the update.
 
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larshjort
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RE: A400M Flight Test Prototypes

Fri Apr 09, 2010 8:17 pm

Why is the engines counterrotating on each wing? Is it normal for 4 engine turboprop aircraft?

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RE: A400M Flight Test Prototypes

Fri Apr 09, 2010 8:32 pm

The props rotate contrary on each wing as an enhancement to lift on takeoff and also to counter any torque and prop factor if an engine is shut down in flight. I am not aware of any 4 engine aircraft that use this but there are some twins that use it. The P-38 for WWII had left/right hand engines and there are some light twin piston engined aircraft. I don't think there are any turbo props out there with left/right engine rotation.
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: A400M Flight Test Prototypes

Fri Apr 09, 2010 8:53 pm

I thought both the C-130J and C-27J both have left/right turning engines. Don't they?
 
pygmalion
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RE: A400M Flight Test Prototypes

Fri Apr 09, 2010 9:45 pm

Russians also had the Bear with counter rotating propellers
 
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keesje
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RE: A400M Flight Test Prototypes

Fri Apr 09, 2010 9:54 pm

Quoting CMB56 (Reply 34):
The props rotate contrary on each wing as an enhancement to lift on takeoff and also to counter any torque and prop factor if an engine is shut down in flight

I think it also has to do with preventing serious downwash for paratroopers leaving the aircraft from the aft side doors.
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kc135topboom
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RE: A400M Flight Test Prototypes

Fri Apr 09, 2010 11:39 pm

Quoting Pygmalion (Reply 36):
Russians also had the Bear with counter rotating propellers

Counter rotating prop systems are much different than props/engines that rotate in opposite directions.

Quoting keesje (Reply 37):
Quoting CMB56 (Reply 34):
The props rotate contrary on each wing as an enhancement to lift on takeoff and also to counter any torque and prop factor if an engine is shut down in flight

I think it also has to do with preventing serious downwash for paratroopers leaving the aircraft from the aft side doors.

No, the tropps still get buffeted at the side doors. That dores not matter which direction the prop rotates in. My guess is this type of system reduces torque on the airplane at high power settings, like take off. But it does increase maintenance and spares costs by having two different engines, gear boxes, and propellers.

Many boats and ships with two or four engines also have opposite rotating engines, tranamissions, and props.
 
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keesje
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RE: A400M Flight Test Prototypes

Tue Jun 08, 2010 7:57 am

proto #1 high speed pass & turn at ILA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5cK1cJrHC0
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Burkhard
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RE: A400M Flight Test Prototypes

Tue Jun 08, 2010 8:15 am

Thanks for that link - that is how we want to see new aircraft.
 
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RE: A400M Flight Test Prototypes

Tue Jun 08, 2010 11:09 am

Quoting CMB56 (Reply 34):
The props rotate contrary on each wing as an enhancement to lift on takeoff and also to counter any torque and prop factor if an engine is shut down in flight. I am not aware of any 4 engine aircraft that use this but there are some twins that use it.

Exactly Airbus calls this configuration Down-Between-Engines (DBE) and the A400M is the first time a 4engine aircraft to use this .

Quote:

The advantages of DBE have far-reaching effects both aerodynamically and structurally. Firstly, airflow over the wings is symmetrical, improving lift characteristics and the lateral stability of the aircraft. Secondly, DBE allows for an optimum wing design by eliminating most of the effects of torque and prop-wash on each wing, concentrating the airflow over the most efficient portion of the wing located between the engines. DBE also reduces the “critical engine” effect of severe yaw in the event of an outboard engine failure. The result allows a 17% reduction in the area of the vertical tail surface.

Further aerodynamic advantages inherent in DBE have been found to give a 4% increase in lift from the wing at slow speed, which enables, for the same total lift, a simpler, lighter flap system to be employed. As a consequence of the lessening of the aerodynamic forces applied to the flaps, the surface area of the horizontal tail-plane can also be reduced by 8%.

http://www.a400m-countdown.com/index.php?v=2&spage=7
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A342
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RE: A400M Flight Test Prototypes

Tue Jun 08, 2010 1:33 pm

Quoting keesje (Reply 39):
proto #1 high speed pass & turn at ILA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5cK1...JrHC0

Rather "sedate", isn't it?   
Exceptions confirm the rule.
 
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keesje
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RE: A400M Flight Test Prototypes

Thu Jun 10, 2010 5:39 pm

The entire 4 minute demo. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8ga-iUaVQg&feature=related

The flight envelop protection seems to work.

Airbus said the thrid proto will fly in july, the 4th had power up and sensor on the prop baldes are (finally) off enabling the prototypes all weather.

#3 will have several small design changest. These include a repositioned APU exhaust and strakes on the landing gear sponsons. The strakes correct a slight “snaking” motion experienced at some angles-of-attack at high altitude.

By May 20, #! and #2 together had flown 165 hours in 44 sorties, including

- completing stall testing (recovery rockets weren't use)
- demonstrating a 124-degree lateral roll rate
- flights in ground effect down to 15 ft over the runway
- operations across its stress range of +2.5g to -1g
- flights with open cargo door

Producton rate is scheduled to be 1 a month in september and could peak at 3 a month later in the program.

Proto1 is full of taped wiring on the outside, specially around the nose, tail and upper wings..

"Never mistake motion for action." Ernest Hemingway
 
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keesje
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RE: A400M Flight Test Prototypes

Sat Jun 12, 2010 11:39 am

Update from chief test pilot Ed Strongman (former RAF Herc driver).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lU0s_HL8khs&feature=related
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zeke
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RE: A400M Flight Test Prototypes

Sat Jun 12, 2010 1:01 pm

Quoting keesje (Reply 44):
Update from chief test pilot Ed Strongman (former RAF Herc driver).

Ed was a TP back in my day.
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A342
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RE: A400M Flight Test Prototypes

Sun Jun 13, 2010 1:29 pm

Awesome picture from Berlin:


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Max Bryansky - Russian AviaPhoto Team

Exceptions confirm the rule.
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: A400M Flight Test Prototypes

Sun Jun 13, 2010 3:40 pm

Do we know at what gross weights the A-400 flew at? At light weights all aircraft perfrom very well. I would guess these manuvers were kept around 2.5Gs-3Gs and not higher.
 
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keesje
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RE: A400M Flight Test Prototypes

Mon Jun 14, 2010 8:42 am

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 47):
Do we know at what gross weights the A-400 flew at? At light weights all aircraft perfrom very well. I would guess these manuvers were kept around 2.5Gs-3Gs and not higher.

This prototype was loaded with 17 tonnes of test equipment, nearly half it's maximum payload. I guess the flight protection systems takes care the pilot doesn't exceed it's maximum loads.
"Never mistake motion for action." Ernest Hemingway
 
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RE: A400M Flight Test Prototypes

Mon Jun 14, 2010 9:16 am

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 47):
I would guess these manuvers were kept around 2.5Gs-3Gs and not higher.

Everything I saw looked less than that, the pull-up and wing over does not put much stress on the airframe, highest g manoeuvres I saw were the level turns.

Transport aircraft normally do not “see” their maximum g during manoeuvres, it is actually normally from a gust or in some form of turbulence.
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