As I was skipping through some images, I saw a few extra shots of the A400M at RIAT. I figured that I hadn’t seen many examples of the transport in service – just the test aircraft performing in displays. However, I have seen both Luftwaffe and Armee de l’Air planes at times so thought I would share a few shots of them plus some test planes for good measure.
I was working through some RIAT photos of the Patrouille de France display. I had some tight shots of the first four jets as they took off and, as I looked closer at them, I was confused as to why two of the jets had a more nose high attitude than the other two. Since they are taking off on formation, I figured that they should look the same.
A closer look at the images and it seems that the flap settings of the jets vary. The nose high aircraft seem to have less flap – hence their need for a higher angle of attack – than the other two jets. I have been trying the think why they would adopt this approach. With all jets accelerating together and climbing together, I had imagined that they would all be in the same configuration. I wonder whether there is something to do with the outwash from the nearby jets that requires a different configuration but I haven’t come up with anything conclusive. I throw it out to the aero engineers that read this to propose your ideas as to why. If any of you know anyone in the PdF, feel free to ask them instead!
The A400M Atlas is now in service with a number of air forces. My encounters with them, though, have only involved the development airframes displayed by Airbus. That changed in Sacramento when The Patrouille de France arrived as part of their North American tour. They brought an A400M as he support plane. I was rather disappointed that it arrived late in the evening, after I had gone home and disappeared early the following morning to recover some delayed jets.
It was back for the day of the display though. It started up at a remote location but then proceeded to give a short flying display. It then taxied back to the crowd line where it shut down and was opened up for visitors. The people were lined up to get inside it for ages. The plane still looked pretty clean so I guess it had not been in service too long. I was glad to get a close up look around the outside as well as to see the crowds inside and the flying display itself. Not a dramatic performance like the test crews have put on but still good to see.
Chino is full of surprises. There are many hangars and many unusual things contained in them. A friend showed me a shot of a Jaguar T4 that was in one of them – I was disappointed to not see that myself. As I was walking back towards the parking with a fellow shooter, we came across a hangar with a Gazelle in it. The guy cleaning out the hangar floor invited us in. It was a French Army Gazelle, still equipped with many electronic boxes from its military role and showing the mounting point on the side of the fuselage where HOT anti-tank missiles were once mounted. He flies it regularly and says it has been immaculately maintained over its service life. It certainly looks great.