MSN001 Powered-On, Engine Tests To Begin Soon
Representatives with European Aeronautic Defense and Space
company (EADS) tell ANN the first Airbus A400M military transport
turboprop, MSN001, recently left station 40 where all the aircraft
systems' interfaces have been connected and the electrical system
has been successfully tested with power-on. These activities are in
line with the current program plan.
From station 40 the aircraft has been moved to station 35 where
all the systems on board will be checked for compliance with design
requirements and data automatically recorded for later analysis and
evaluation. This represents an important step forward as station 35
is one of the few stations left before first flight.
In previous operations undertaken at station 40, the complete
airframe was assembled with the wings and the vertical and
horizontal tail planes being joined to the fuselage. On this
particular first aircraft, the work at this station was temporary
interrupted to proceed with the required structural ground test
prior to First Flight.
EADS announced in October 2007 the four-engine turboprop
transport -- a project 20 years in the making, and intended as a
competitor to, and replacement for, the aging Lockheed Martin C-130
-- would be delayed as much as six months. As ANN reported, in February
Airbus CEO Thomas Enders told attendees at the Singapore Airshow
the program's troubles were behind it, with no further delays on
top of the 6-12 month postponement announced in January.
EADS said this week engine installation on MSN001 is now
underway. Since delivery to FAL, intensive work around the engines
have been performed following the scheduled activities, including
incoming inspection, and engine build up/dressing process (station
25-equipping), in which the engines are equipped with the
electrical harnesses, different pipes and airframe components
required prior installation on the MSN001.
Normal functioning checks and power assurance have also being
performed. At station 25, the flight test instrumentation is also
installed on this development aircraft. Later, the four engines
will be moved to station 20 for installation on the aircraft.
EADS also notes Engine Flight Clearance activities continue and
the dedicated Flying Test Bed -- ironically, a modified C-130 -- on
which a TP400 engine has been installed, is being readied to begin
the flight test program, which is expected to begin shortly.