Airbus Military has achieved a key milestone in the A400M military airlifter programme when all four Europrop International (EPI) TP400 turboprops on the aircraft were run simultaneously for the first time.
The event, last Wednesday, was the culmination of a series of tests in the previous 72 hours in which the engines and propellers were first turned using ground power with no fuel in the fuel-lines, in a process known as dry-cranking. Then they were turned with fuel in the lines but without starting the engines, known as wet-cranking.
All four of the engines on aircraft MSN01 were successfully run for four hours beginning in the early evening during an operation that lasted for 6.5 hours including preparation.
The engines ran at low power settings in ground-idle and flight-idle modes and will be run up to maximum take-off power in further runs planned to take place shortly.
The operation at Airbus Military’s Seville, Spain facility was part of the procedure known as destorage of the engines following the handover to the flight-test team at the end of the previous week.
After the first full run, during which the engines performed flawlessly, the engine cowls were opened and inspections showed that there had been no hot-air or fluid leaks.
On the subsequent runs the test team will continue exploring the behaviour of the engine itself and also that of the aircraft systems that are powered by the engine.
Additionally the auxiliary power unit (APU), a separate small engine mounted on the aircraft itself and designed to provide electrical power to the aircraft systems, was tested. It was used to start the engines for the main engine run.
Airbus CEO Tom Enders, who personally witnessed the first full engine run-up, said: “I wish to thank and congratulate the teams who worked extremely hard to reach this very important milestone which paves the way to the A400M First Flight in the weeks to come.”
Fernando Alonso, Head of Flight Operations, added: “This is the first time we completely powered up the aircraft using the engine power and the first time that the aircraft has been operated completely autonomously.”