Airbus Military A400M development aircraft named Grizzly

Air­bus Mil­i­tary is for­mal­ly adopt­ing the name Griz­zly for its five-strong devel­op­ment fleet of A400M air­lifters.

A400M
A400M
Source: Air­bus, Ramadier
Click to enlarge

The new name is not the prod­uct of an expen­sive mar­ket­ing study, nor some­thing devised by a team of brand­ing experts, nor the result of months of debate among the sales team. Instead it is the affec­tion­ate nick­name giv­en to the air­craft by the close-knit group of flight test pilots and engi­neers who first saw it safe­ly into the air.

When the first air­craft was hand­ed over to the flight-test team in Seville, Spain in Novem­ber 2009, it was for­mal­ly known as MSN1 in the time-hon­oured avi­a­tion tra­di­tion of refer­ring to the manufacturer´s ser­i­al num­ber. But, work­ing at the remote­ly locat­ed flight-test cen­tre at the west­ern end of the lengthy Air­bus Mil­i­tary flight­line at Seville, the team quick­ly began hunt­ing for a hand­i­er nick­name.

The Flight Test Team seized on the resem­blance between the mighty airlifter´s hunched appear­ance and the mus­cu­lar shoul­ders of the griz­zly bear, and soon after­wards the air­craft was already being referred to inside flight-test as “the Griz­zly”. By the time of the first flight on 11th Decem­ber, the name had stuck suf­fi­cient­ly firm­ly that it was adopt­ed as the aircraft´s radio call­sign – Griz­zly One.

Fur­ther­more, a lit­tle-known fact is that the first flight also car­ried a par­ty of non-human pas­sen­gers – ted­dy bears to raise funds for the EADS-spon­sored char­i­ty Avi­a­tion With­out Bor­ders – a nice reminder of the Grizzly’s future role in civic and human­i­tar­i­an mis­sions. The name rapid­ly spread through­out Air­bus Mil­i­tary and beyond, and at the ILA Berlin air­show in June 2010 an infor­mal Griz­zly One logo appeared on MSN1 when it made its first pub­lic air­show appear­ance. Yes­ter­day the com­pa­ny announced that it was adopt­ing the name Griz­zly for the five devel­op­ment air­craft to be used dur­ing the flight-test pro­gramme. In a cer­e­mo­ny at Farn­bor­ough, MSN1´s sis­ter-ship MSN2 was for­mal­ly named Griz­zly by two-times World Aer­o­bat­ic Cham­pi­on Cather­ine Mau­noury of France.

Air­bus Mil­i­tary Man­ag­ing Direc­tor Domin­go Ure­ña said: “Our Griz­zly and the griz­zly bear share a rare com­bi­na­tion of speed, strength, and agili­ty, so it is no sur­prise that they also bear a resem­blance to each oth­er. We are proud to asso­ciate the A400M with one of nature´s great crea­tures.”

About Cather­ine Mau­noury
Cather­ine Mau­noury is one of France´s most cel­e­brat­ed pilots and among the most suc­cess­ful aer­o­bat­ic pilots in the world. After obtain­ing her pilot´s licence aged 17, she became French nation­al aer­o­bat­ic cham­pi­on in 1980 and went on to win the title ten times. In 1988 and 2000 she was also world aer­o­bat­ic cham­pi­on. In recent years she has focused on coach­ing aer­o­bat­ic pilots, dis­play fly­ing, shar­ing her expe­ri­ences through lec­tures, and moti­va­tion­al speak­ing. Cather­ine Mau­noury has won numer­ous French hon­ours includ­ing the Prix Icare, Médaille de l’Aéronautique, Offici­er de l’Ordre du Mérite, and Offici­er de la Légion d’Honneur. She was recent­ly select­ed to be the next Direc­tor of the Museé de l’Air et de l’Espace in Paris. She has two sons and is the wid­ow of archi­tect, avi­a­tion artist and pilot Dominique Mau­noury.

About the griz­zly bear
Despite its sci­en­tif­ic name Ursus arc­tos hor­ri­bilis, the griz­zly bear is pri­mar­i­ly veg­e­tar­i­an and females spend more than two years rais­ing their young. Nev­er­the­less they may weigh upwards of 700lb (320 kg) and can run at speeds of more than 30 mph (50 km/hr). Griz­zlies are a sub-species of the brown bear Ursus arc­tos and nor­mal­ly lead a soli­tary and ter­ri­to­r­i­al exis­tence. Their com­mon name comes from their sil­ver-tipped fur which gives rise to what was orig­i­nal­ly called a ‘griz­zly’ appear­ance. Their famous hunched look is due to a mus­cu­lar hump that gives them addi­tion­al strength for run­ning and dig­ging. Griz­zlies are today found over­whelm­ing­ly in Cana­da and Alas­ka, with much small­er num­bers in north-west­ern USA where it is a pro­tect­ed species. The Euro­pean brown bear is very close­ly relat­ed.

About A400M Griz­zly
The A400M Griz­zly is an all-new mil­i­tary air­lifter designed to meet the needs of the world’s Armed Forces in the 21st Cen­tu­ry. Thanks to its most advanced tech­nolo­gies, it is able to fly high­er, faster and fur­ther, while retain­ing high manoeu­vra­bil­i­ty, low speed, and short, soft and rough air­field capa­bil­i­ties. It com­bines both tac­ti­cal and strategic/logistic mis­sions. With its car­go hold specif­i­cal­ly designed to car­ry the out­size equip­ment need­ed today for both mil­i­tary and human­i­tar­i­an dis­as­ter relief mis­sions, it can bring this mate­r­i­al quick­ly and direct­ly to where it is most need­ed. Con­ceived to be high­ly reli­able, depend­able, and with a great sur­viv­abil­i­ty, the mul­ti­pur­pose A400M Griz­zly can do more with less, imply­ing small­er fleets and less invest­ment from the oper­a­tor. The A400M Griz­zly is the most cost effi­cient and ver­sa­tile air­lifter ever con­ceived and absolute­ly unique in its capa­bil­i­ties

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