Our partner and aerospace consultant Addison Schonland has an excellent podcast on the A400M saga. EADS, Europe's largest defense company, has threatened to shut down the airlift program unless its European government partners come up with money to pay for the plane's enormous cost overruns.
The company's CEO, Louis Gallois, set a Jan. 31 deadline for a funding agreement. Gallois said Jan. 12 that the company would not risk its future for the sake of the troubled plane.
Meanwhile, the A400M is now flying - it has done 15 hours over four test flights. The results have been really good. Who says so? Ed Strongman, Airbus Chief Test Pilot for military programs. But for the inclement European weather there would have been much more flying. The airplane is proving to do what it was designed for and it looks like it will fit right in between the C-130 and C-17. While it's true the program has been delayed, this is not unusual today. New airplane programs have all (yes every one of the current batch) turned out to be much more complex than initially thought. Customers are impatient, but the A400M sounds like it will be worth the wait. The airplane's performance is remarkable - but listen to the pilot's own words for that.