Atlas takes to the air at Fairford

The RAF’s future airlifter, the Airbus A400M Atlas, is making its only UK flying appearance this year, taking to the air at the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire.

The giant aircraft took to the skies over RAF Fairford yesterday as part of the RAF’s Air Mobility flypast, along with the other transport aircraft based at nearby RAF Brize Norton. It will also appear in the flypast today.

Air Tattoo director Tim Prince said: “I am delighted the Air Tattoo was chosen as the venue for the naming ceremony for the A400M Atlas, and that Airbus Military’s chief test pilot, Ed Strongman, was able to fly the Atlas in our weekend’s eight-hour daily flying display programmes.

“Our visitors have been able to enjoy this fantastic aircraft on the ground, and they’ve also had two rare opportunities to see and hear this amazing machine fly in the skies over RAF Fairford.”

The aircraft appearing at Fairford is one of six prototypes being used by Airbus Military for the development of the aircraft. The first aircraft made its maiden flight in December 2009 and the first production aircraft is due to enter service with the French Air Force at the end of this year or in early 2013.

The RAF will receive the first of the 22 A400Ms ordered in 2014. The fleet is due to be based at Brize Norton.

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