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Airbus A400Ms grounded as Spain crash is investigated

The crash occurred Saturday near Seville's airport.

By Ed Adamczyk
Airbus A400Ms grounded as Spain crash is investigated
An Airbus A400M in Berlin in 2012. Photo by J. Herzog/Wikimedia.org

SEVILLE, Spain, May 12 (UPI) -- Spain's Airbus Group NV, after the crash of its A400M transport plane killed four people last week, was ordered to stop flying the plane, halting all deliveries.

A massive, four-engine plane, used for large-scale transport, crashed Saturday near the airport in Seville, Spain, as it made its first flight after leaving the factory. It was built for a June delivery to Turkey's air force, and struck electrical wires before it crashed onto a nearby farm. Four of the six people aboard were killed. The survivors were hospitalized in serious condition.

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The Spanish government said Tuesday aircraft now leaving the factory and destined for pre-delivery testing are barred from flight until an investigation into the crash is completed. It is typical of a new plane to undergo two or three test flights before it is handed over to a purchaser.

Britain, whose air force has two A400Ms, has grounded its planes until more information is available, as has Germany, Turkey and Malaysia, each of which has one. France has six and will only permit flights of the planes in operations already underway.

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The A400M was first flown in 2009 and was designed as a replacement for aging transport planes such as the C-130 Hercules.

Investigation into the crash is focusing on the plane's engines and fuel system. The engine, built by the consortium Europrop International, is the most powerful of its kind in the West, but had development issues and was in part responsible for the delay in rolling out the model, which was first planned for 2008.

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