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A400M Lost During Test Flight

4 Dead, 2 Injured Near Seville Assembly Plant

The turbulent genesis of the Airbus A400M just got a lot more difficult.

An A400M, due to be delivered to the Turkish Air Force within weeks, went down during a shakedown test flight with a crew of six aboard. The aircraft, MSN23, was the first A400M loss. The accident occurred right after departure from Seville's San Pablo airport -- also the home of Airbus Defense and Space’s flight test facility and final assembly facility.

The impact, which took place at 1300 local time, was near an industrial area, NE of the airport and took place barely 15 minutes into the flight. Sources indicate that this was the first flight for this specific aircraft. The cause of the accident is not known but the UK has already grounded it only two A400Ms pending the results of the investigation. The German military has also grounded its single aircraft.

The A400M program has been a difficult pursuit for Airbus. The project is drastically behind schedule and encountered severe budget overruns... even to the point where leaders considered its cancellation, before deciding to proceed to full production. Flight tracking sites report that the aircraft went down at 1257 local time upon achieving a max altitude of 1,725 feet, and thereafter descending at 160 knots.

The A400M's decade long development program has logged 174 sales to date, at an average cost of $170M per airframe. 

FMI: www.airbus.com



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