Airbus Military has begun major fatigue testing of the A400M turboprop military transport aircraft in Dresden, Germany.
The test airframe, known as MSN5001, will be subjected to a punishing regime of loads 24 hours per day for an four weeks, eventually simulating 160 flights per day.
The first 1,665 simulated flights are required for European Aviation Safety Agency type certification of the A400M.
Over the next 18 months a total of 25,000 simulated flights will be performed, equal to 2.5 times the A400M’s design-life.
Static testing of another A400M test airframe, MSN5000, was completed in Madrid in September 2010.
The airframe is being used for further fatigue tests of composite structures, which will complete in early 2012.