The A400M has been spending the summer holidays on a beach… of sorts, and in a rather unlikely venue: Woodbridge in the UK on the flats of eastern England where it has been testing its capability to operate on a sand runway.
Airbus Defence and Space said in a press release today (24 August) that the sand runway is “the last of three unprepared types of surface on which it will be certified.” The aircraft has already successfully been tested on a gravel surface at Ablitas in Spain and a grass runway at Écury in France.
The sand runway tests, using development aircraft MSN2, took place over a three week period in August on an airstrip specially constructed by the the British Army’s 23 Parachute Engineer Regiment of 16 Air Assault Brigade. A final week of tests will include operations with the aircraft being loaded with increasingly heavier weights.
Airbus says “the A400M demonstrated excellent performance in taxying manoeuvres, such as U-turns, and during take-off and landing on the 1,600m (5,250ft) strip.”
Check out the video of “A400M on the beach” here: http://bit.ly/2bKuqlw