On the eve of the Airbus A400M's EASA initial Type Certification, an exclusive interview with Ed Strongman, Chief Test Pilot, Airbus Military on the 'Grizzly' flight test programme, how Europe's new military transporter compares to the C-130, and chucking his boss, Tom Enders, out of the rear ramp (with parachute). On 25 January the RAeS held an exclusive Corporate Partner Seminar, featuring off-the-record briefings from key speakers on topics such as the RAF's involvement in Libya, advanced manufacturing and UAVs, to name but three. One of the distinguished speakers was ex-RAF C-130 Hercules pilot Ed Strongman, now responsible for the A400M test programme. We caught up with Ed to ask him about flight test progress and flying the Grizzly, which is scheduled to be delivered to the French Air Force at the turn of next year. With the type set to enter service with the RAF, and with significant British content (in engines & wings) Ed also explains why one of his proudest moments was as a British test pilot bringing it 'home' to Farnborough in 2010 to show it off to the UK. Look out for the A400M this summer at Farnborough Air Show and RIAT. http://youtu.be/t-F_fgVPhWc?hd=1      

Tim Robinson
27 January 2012