First production A400M takes to air

March 7, 2013 at 11:15 AM

MADRID, March 7 (UPI) -- Airbus Military of Spain has conducted the maiden flight of its first production A400M turboprop airlifter, which will be delivered to the French air force.

The flight, which lasted almost 6 hours, was conducted from Seville, Spain, and the aircraft performed as expected, the company said.

"The performance of the aircraft was as expected and we had a very smooth flight, confirming the great handling capabilities of the aircraft," said Airbus Military experimental test pilot Hugues Van Der Stichel. "The result of this first flight gives us full confidence for the on-time delivery to the French air force."

The A400M Atlas is a tactical airlifter that has been ordered by eight countries. It can carry more than 100 fully equipped troops or a payload of more than 30 tons. It has a tactical take off distance of 3,215 feet and a landing distance of 2,526 feet on a soft field.

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