While it’s not unusual to see a Boeing C-17 or Lockheed Martin C-130J fly demanding profiles at air shows, you won’t see either plane be this aggressive. The Airbus A-400M is Europe’s first modern entry into the military transport category. The plane is larger than a C-130 but smaller than a C-17. While the program has been plagued by delays, the first deliveries to European customers have started. France recently took delivery of their third aircraft. The Royal Air Force expects their first A-400M delivery in September of this year.
At air shows, the A-400M is undoubtedly impressive. The aircraft performs a very complex routine with bank angles exceeding 90 degrees as part of a wingover demonstration. While the wingover maneuver is unique, there seems to be little purpose behind the heart-stopping act other than to demonstrate its maneuverability. Nonetheless, the A-400M impresses air show attendees year after year. It remains to be seen whether the day-to-day performance of the $20+ billion program will eventually elicit an equal amount of excitement by its military customers.
In the video above by YouTube videographer TopFelya, you’ll see the A-400M’s practice performance prior to the Farnborough Air Show in 2014.