Tag Archives: A400M

Switching jobs to A330neo programme

About four and half-year ago I announced in this blog that I was coming to work to France. I will use this communication channel again to inform those of you who don’t know it, that about a month ago I switched jobs within Airbus Group: I moved from Airbus Defence and Space A400M programme to Airbus Commercial A330neo programme.

Let me share a couple of pictures to depict the move:

Change of lanyards and key chains... a basic integration exercise...

Change of lanyards and key chains… a basic integration exercise…

I will nevertheless keep a close eye in A400M, a programme where I spent the last 5 years working on it…

My first flight on-board the A400M.

My first flight on-board the A400M.


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Muret Air show 2011

The Red Arrows are the UK Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team. They are one of the most famous acrobatics teams worldwide. They were formed in the ‘60s when several unofficial teams were united under the new official team of the RAF.

The Red Arrows were performing yesterday at Muret Air exhibition, just 12km away from Toulouse so I went there to spend the day with some colleagues from Airbus (which kindly sponsored the show providing fuel for the aircraft). The organization of the event left the Red Arrows for the end of the day. The team is composed of 9 pilots plus an extra one who acts as road manager and commentator during the show (animator I should say). They fly BAE Hawk airplanes and are about 33 years old on average.

The several figures in different formation patterns that they performed were impressive (Diamond, Apollo, Vixen, Heart, Palm tree, etc.). I must admit that this was the first exhibition I attended, as the only other time when I witnessed acrobatics was at the Red Bull Race in Budapest in the summer of 2007, when I was on holidays there with friends.

I took several pictures and videos of their performance, but somehow I didn’t manage to save most of the videos correctly, so I can only show below the pictures in the slide show below:

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There were another two teams performing: the French Air Force Cartouche Doré (flying 3 TB30 Epsilon, made by Socata, a filial of EADS) and the Breitling Jet Team. The latter is a civilian acrobatic team (the only one) based in France. They fly L-39 Albatros.

Apart from these teams, there were several other planes that were flying in the show: L-39 Albatros, Cap 232, ATR-42, Beech King Air 200, some Pipers (simulating a fight between a police airplane and another one), P40… but the only ones my smartphone saved correctly in videos were the flights of the A380 and the A400M (no kidding, I did over 20 videos and discovered only these 2 were stored in the memory), enjoy them:

It was a good experience, perfect for a sunny Saturday. I wanted to remark the importance of having a good commentator and music to enhance the show. In Muret the commentator was great (apparently he is famous in France and engaged in all air shows) but the music was not always the best, though when it was it really made you (seriously) think “I want to fly one of those”…

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Since some time ago I wanted to write a small entry just to show the following graphic to point a very basic issue to non-engineers:

Efficiency vs. airspeed.

I have very often heard remarks about turbo propellers referring them as old or old technology, etc. I guess that this comes from seeing images of old aircraft with propellers and reciprocating engines, and now people being used to fly in turbofan engines.

However, turbo propellers are neither old nor a worse technology. As almost everything in engineering it all depends on what the requirements are and the price to pay for the solution. Then come the trade-offs. As you may find in the Wikipedia entry [turboprops] “they are mostly used where high-performance short-takeoff and landing (STOL) capability and efficiency at modest flight speeds are required”.

The first requirement is among the ones explaining why some military transport aircraft such as the C-295, the C-130 or the most modern A400M are equipped with turboprops.

The second requirement explains why some regional airlines employ turboprops for short-haul flights, when the distance can be covered at a bit lower speed without a big impact in the flight time.

If you take a look at the picture above, you could start roughly guessing what type of engine you would choose depending at what speed you would normally fly (then more requirements would come into play).

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Airbus Military private party

Last time I went to the night disco “Kapital” was some years ago, yesterday I went again as my company, Airbus Military, organized a private party for its engineers (with about 1,000 people attending) to celebrate the recent certifications of the A330 MRTT (multi role tanker transport) and the C-295 anti-submarine warfare (ASW).

“Madam, if a thing is possible, consider it done; the impossible? That will be done”, this quote from Charles Alexandre, vicomte de Calonne, was used by Javier Matallanos, Airbus Military Senior Vice President of Programmes, to describe what it is being done at the company in the last years. As he stated, we, in Airbus Military, have launched recently the first air-to-air refuelling aircraft in the history of Europe  and the only anti-submarine warfare aircraft in the last 40 years in Europe (he quoted the only other European attempt, UK’s Nimrod, which has ended in a cancellation as I posted some months ago, the previous programme is the Breguet Atlantic).

Both Matallanos and Miguel Angel Morell, SVP of Engineering and Technology, thanked families and partners of Airbus Military workers for their continuous support: “be proud of your partners, please, know that they are exceptional people as they are used to do the impossible and these examples (MRTT and ASW) we are celebrating today are only two of the many we could give account”.

Finally, even though at the time of the speeches the presence of the CEO of the company, Domingo Ureña, was excused due to personal reasons (aside of closing the A400M negotiation in the same day), the CEO indeed appeared at about 23:00 as we saw him at the fifth floor.

My kudos to the person who had the idea of organizing this event and to the ones carrying it forward. I look forward to some more initiatives like this in the future.

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A400M and B787 static tests

Airbus Military completed on July 22nd in Getafe (Spain) one of the most extreme cases of its A400M structural tests: the maximum wing up bending until reaching the ultimate load, defined as 150% the most extreme load the plane is expected to experience while in service.

Some months ago, another development aircraft the Boeing 787 achieved the same.

Even though, the loads that A400M will experience in service will be higher than those that the 787 will face and thus the ones tested in each case were consequently different, see the difference in the flexion of each wing.

As engineers working in military developments will never be tired of explaining: a military aircraft is a completely different animal, not just a civil one painted in military camouflage.


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