Major fatigue testing of the Airbus Military A400M has begun on schedule in Dresden (Germany) this month.
The test airframe, known as MSN5001, will be subjected to a punishing regime of loads, 24 hours per day, for an initial four weeks, eventually simulating 160 flights per day. The first 1,665 simulated flights are required for European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) type certification of the A400M, but over the next 18 months a total of 25,000 simulated flights will be performed - equating to 2.5 times the A400M's design-life.
Static testing of another A400M test airframe, MSN5000 was completed in Madrid in September 2010.
That airframe continues to be used for further fatigue tests of composite structures which will last until early 2012.