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September 25, 2014 9:19 am

Looks a nice enough old thing. Looking at the fairly abrupt and steep take-off the thought occurs, with the high wing and higher tail, what would its deep stall characteristic be? Would that be a problem in tactical landings in hot & high places? Not a huge limitation I expect, but something that would be new compared to our current Hercs

September 25, 2014 9:47 am

They swing the props to start it?? (0:43)

September 25, 2014 10:01 am

of course they don’t swing the props…that’s the pilot doing his walk round checks

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
September 25, 2014 11:07 am

Thinking back to our discussion to how you could turn a A400M into an MPA, how hard would it be to turn it into a bomber, I am thinking for gravity bombs. To me it would be a modified ramp with some way of ejecting the bombs (whilst keeping the aircraft pressurized), and a targeting pod. Inside you could have some form of RO/RO weapons handling setup.

The main use to me would be in uncontested airspace such as Iraq where you want to hit loads of targets; I am roughly guessing an A400M could hold the same number of bombs as 20+ Tornados.

Any thoughts?

Peter Elliott
September 25, 2014 3:33 pm

Do we think 22 of them is all we’ll ever get?

The Other Chris
September 25, 2014 3:45 pm


I think we’ll at least exercise the three options we have and bring it up to 25.

Germany and Spain want to shed twenty odd between them. It would be nice to pick up at least some of these to go beyond 25.

EDIT: A fleet of near 50 would be amazing.

September 25, 2014 3:56 pm

PE – I suppose the the question is whether we need the extra AT capability that small numbers of extra A400s would bring or whether the current mix of Voyager/C-17/A400/BAe 146s is plenty.

September 25, 2014 4:56 pm


I think you maybe getting slightly confused between aircraft pitch at take-off and angle of attack these are not one and the same thing. As you mention deep stall on t-tail aircraft is a design considerations and a condition that unless your at signifcant height and know what your doing you probably won’t get out off (for those that don’t know this is where the main wing stalls and the flow that separates from the main wing is at such an angle that it envelopes the horizontal tail therefore removing effective pitch control. Similar terminology can be used for any aircraft were wing tips stall removing aileron roll control.) it has been taken care off with the use of a full fly by wire control system offering full envelope protection so carefree handling on operations.

Take off and landing performance for tactical purposes will be governed by how much excess power you have available, this is why you see payload figures quite a bit below Max payload quoted on all air lifters for tactical operation.

In the link is commentary by a pilot evaluating a400m handling including stall tests http://aviationweek.com/blog/video-flying-airbus-a400m

September 25, 2014 6:11 pm

@Engineer Tom
The A400M could carry 300+ GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb (a B2 carries 80) or 5 of these Russian FOAB 7t Thermobaric bombs :-

Peter Elliott
September 25, 2014 6:46 pm

It depends what our armed forces are for really. If we want to stay set up for enduring tasks including regenerating skeleton regular brigades with reservists for their turn in a roulment then maybe we don’t need a whole heap of extra AT. But that task is getting quite unpopular with both our voters, the people who’s countries we set up camp in, and their cultural and religious sympathisers. And its arguable whether it actually works in terms of nation building. True nation builders have the imperial commitment to stay for as long as the job takes. And we don’t have that any more.

So reflecting on what people have been saying about amphibioisity on other threads we could decide that we only have one army. Its quite a small one. But it we had the ability to make it turn up suddenly anywhere in the world fully tooled and ready to fight then it would have an influence out of all proportion to its size.

In that scenario you could give up half a dozen skeleton cap-badge batallions and dormant brigade HQs in exchange for your extra 25 A400M.

“I suppose the the question is whether we need the extra AT capability”

September 25, 2014 6:47 pm

Mark – entirely possible I’m confused. I recall when being instructed on the finer points of DC-9/MD-80 pilotage a great deal of emphasis was put on the stick shaker (uncomfortable) & stick pusher (brutal), the mechanisms McDDAC fitted to avoid the high tailed aircraft getting into deep stall conditions. The point about tactical landings in particular was that they are short steep fast – um – glideslopes? (not a good description but hey) presumably terminated with a dramatic and violent – um – flare? (yup; still bad) which might well equate to a hefty AoA for the airflow to negotiate. Maybe the idea is that so close to the ground it would just land anyway….

September 25, 2014 8:32 pm


Having had both the stick shaker and pusher demonstrated to me in flight it can indeed be described as brutal. You do get relatively large AOA at the flare on a steep decent but you will have lots of flaps and slats out to allow the aircraft to do it, field performance is a fundamental design driver. Not so much on takeoff aoa is relatively benign but can have a large pitch angle.

Fly by wire systems are not nearly as brutal as older aircraft, provided your using the right law and haven’t switched anything off (a whole other conversation which you’ll need a pilot to go into about airmanship see Air France crash over the Atlantic) fly by wire systems will simply not let the aircraft stall let alone get to a deep stall situation.

James Bolivar DiGriz
James Bolivar DiGriz
September 26, 2014 1:40 pm

Somewhat OT.

Seeing that video reminded me of a question that occurred to me but only after this thread
had gone stale.

We have some planes (C-17, Airseeker, etc) that only have boom refuelling and our AAR is only probe & drogue. The A400 shown has a long probe shown as part of it.

Obviously it would be possible to build some sort of adapter that had a long probe (like this A400) at one end and the ‘plug’ for the boom ‘socket on the other end. In use such an adapter would need to be very firmly attached to the aircraft.

However I have never heard of such an item and it was not mentioned in the earlier discussion so I assume that there is some reason why one has never been developed. Can anyone enlighten me as to what the reason(s) might be?

BTW I am aware that such an adapter would have some impact on the flight characteristics of the plane and that some level of recertification would be needed, which will take time & money. However aircraft have their wings (pretty important to the flight characteristics!) modified so this is not an absolute obstacle.