In its Paris air show debut, the Airbus Military A400M transport will have a much smaller presence than first hoped.
The aircraft will perform a fly-by on Monday with the Patrouille de France for the official opening ceremony, but otherwise will remain on the ground. The daily flight display has been cancelled.
The move is precautionary after developers, last week, found a gearbox problem in one of the TP400D turboprop engines on MSN1, the first flight aircraft. The gearbox has been removed and returned to Europrop International -- the TP400D engine consortium -- and specifically to Avio for closer examination.
While the analysis is going on, Airbus Military CEO Domingo Urena did not want to put the aircraft in Paris through the extremes of the flight display and decided to only have the airlifter at Le Bourget as a static display once its opening fly-by is complete.
The A400M flight test program is not impacted, however, he stresses. Flight test aircraft are continuing to fly and without envelope restrictions.
Urena tries to put a positive spin on the situation, noting that this means more people visiting the show will have time to climb all over the grounded A400M.
By the time the next Paris air show rolls around, the A400M should be flying in the colors of the first operator, the French air force.