Sunday, January 24, 2010

Airbus A400M maiden flight had technical glitch

The Airbus A400M military transport plane experienced a software glitch during its first test flight in December, but the problem was minor, the European planemaker said Sunday.

The technical glitch was not reported when the four-engine turboprop aircraft - over-budget and behind schedule - made its maiden flight Dec. 11.

Airbus' comments came after the German weekly Der Spiegel reported on the problem this weekend, citing confidential documents from engine maker Europrop.

The issue was with the software controlling the engines and has been fixed, Airbus spokesman Jaime Perez-Guerra said.

The software glitch led the pilots to disengage an engine, meaning that its blades turn freely.

The plane has since logged nearly 30 hours of flight and is performing above expectations, he said.

The aircraft is four years behind schedule and more than euro5 billion (US$7.3 billion) over budget.

European aerospace contractor EADS wants the seven customer nations to pay for the extra costs, though a fixed price was agreed on in 2003.

The A400M's customers are Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain and Turkey

Airbus has asked for a decision to be made by the end of January on how the project is to proceed.

Recommended reading:
*Airbus A400M may get canceled

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