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Future Large Aircraft

Volume 503: debated on Wednesday 13 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what technical problems were encountered (a) in preparation for and (b) during the recent maiden test flight of the Airbus 400M in Spain. (308621)

The first flight of A400M took place on 11 December 2009, less than four weeks after the aircraft was handed over to the flight test team. During early testing, a number of minor issues were identified and resolved prior to first flight, as is normal for these events. During the first flight itself, a number of minor anomalies were found which were successfully managed by the flight test crew. The relevant details have been made available to Partner Nations in confidence. As is demonstrated by the three and three quarter hour flight, which is at the upper end of the planned maximum duration, none of these anomalies were considered significant or in any way compromised aircraft safety. A successful second flight was undertaken on 23 December 2009 with a third flight undertaken on 7 January 2010.

It is considered that publication of details of the actual issues could lead to misinterpretation and may inadvertently release company sensitive information.