The Mystery Airplane Contest
Airbus A400M Atlas C.I
December 1, 2017
Airbus, known for its flyby wire airliners, including the popular A320 series and the gigantic A380, also produces military aircraft. The A400M Atlas turboprop transport was designed to replace the Transall C-160 and the early model Lockheed Hercules. Able to use undeveloped landing strips and capable of aerial refueling, the Atlas has suffered from development delays and cost overruns. Some countries cancelled orders for the Atlas. The prototype's delayed first flight occurred on 11 December 2009 in Seville, Spain.
Powered by four 11,000 hp Europrop TP400 engines driving eight blade propellers, the A400M is capable of a 485 mph cruise at 31,000 feet. With a crew of three or four, and a flyby wire system, it can carry over 81,000 pounds of cargo or 116 troops. Configured for med-evac duties, it can support 66 stretchers and 25 medical attendants.
Atlas ZM413, in this Oshkosh 2017 photo, is assigned to the Royal Air Force's No. 24 and No. 70 Squadrons based at Brize Norton. No. 24 Squadron is an operational training unit, while No. 70 Squadron is meant for strategic transport duties. No. 70 Squadron has a long history of transport operations with such aircraft as the C-47 Dakota, Handley Page Hastings, Vickers Valleta, and the Hercules. ZM413, delivered on 10 February 2017, is the RAF's 13th Atlas. The first, ZM400, was delivered on 17 November 2014. Twenty-two have been ordered for the RAF, eventually replacing the C-130J by 2022. The RAF's No. 99 Squadron operates eight Boeing C-17A Globemaster III aircraft, also from Brize Norton. Other countries that operate the Atlas, or have ordered it, include Germany, France, Spain, Turkey, Belgium, Malaysia, and Luxembourg.
I didn't fool anyone with the A400M. Blue skies and tail winds for the holidays!
October’s winner is Sharon Goebel of RARE Aircraft Ltd. Other correct responses came from Joe Connell, Bob Eckstein, Roger Gomoll, Michael Harter of Greenfield, IN, Bob Heavirland, Michael Johnson, Dave Lundgren, Ronald Pogatchnik, and Ed Wells. Thanks to all.