Edward 'Ed' Strongman
(far left), is Chief Test
Pilot Military with responsibility for the development of the A400M and
Airbus military derivative aircraft. He captained the aircraft's maiden
flight alongside his colleague Ignacio "Nacho" Lombo.
Having joined Airbus in 1995, he was
initially Project Pilot for the A330/A340 family and was particularly
closely involved with the development of the A340-600 which he piloted
on its maiden flight in April 2001. Subsequently he worked on all Airbus
aircraft and participated extensively in the A380 flight test
Mr Strongman is today a veteran test
pilot who was selected to attend the United States Air Force Test Pilot
School (USAFTPS) at Edwards AFB, California in 1979 after five years of
operations flying the Lockheed C-130 Hercules for the UK's Royal Air
After graduating from USAFTPS Mr
Strongman served for six years at the Royal Aircraft Establishment,
Bedford, UK flying a wide range of transports, fighters and helicopters.
In 1986 he left Bedford as Commanding Officer of the Test Squadron to
join the UK CAA as a certification test pilot involved in the regulatory
approval of numerous jet and turboprop aircraft.
Mr Strongman has some 11,000 flight hours of which more than 7,000 have been in flight test.
Born in Cornwall, UK in 1949 Ed Strongman has an engineering degree from Bristol University/
In the right hand seat was Spaniard Ignacio "Nacho" Lombo
(second from right). Airbus Experimental Test Pilot, has been with the A400M
programme since March 2005 as a member of the design and test-team. He
co-captained the A400M on its first flight with Chief Experimental Test
Pilot Ed Strongman.
Mr Lombo has additionally flown the entire Airbus family – A300,
A320, A330, A340 and A380. He has more than 250 hours on the A380,
including high altitude testing in Ethiopia, high temperature testing in
the UAE, noise tests in Seville, Spain and route-proving in Bogota,
In June 2007 he was also part of the maiden flight crew of the A330
MRTT multi-role tanker/transport. Prior to that, Mr Lombo flew for
EADS-CASA (now Airbus Military) on the Eurofighter Typhoon programme
Nacho Lombo is an experimental test pilot graduate of the French
school for flight test personnel EPNER (Ecole du Personnel Navigant
d'Essais et de Réception). He was then assigned in 1998 to the Spanish
Air Force test centre CLAEX (Centro Logístico de Armamento y
Experimentacíon) where he worked on the Typhoon, Mirage F1 mid-life
upgrade (MLU), and Northrop F-5 MLU programme for which he made the
Mr Lombo's flying career began in 1989 when he graduated from the
Spanish Air Force Academy and went on to fly F-5 fighters. He became an
F-5 instructor in the Spanish Fighter School and flew the Mirage F1 in
the 141st Squadron at Albacete until 1997.
Among his 4,250 total flight hours he has amassed some 1,500 hours of flight-testing.
Born in Cartagena, Spain in 1966, Mr Lombo is married with three
sons. In addition to flying he enjoys practising long-distance triathlon
among other sports.
(the gentleman in the back) is Senior Flight Test
Engineer (FTE), project leader for the A400M programme, and has been
Head of the A400M Integrated Flight Test Operations Team since September
2004.Mr Isorce joined Airbus in April 2001, working until
September 2004 in the performance area of the Flight Test Division
where he participated in the certification of the A340-600, A340-500 and
During his flying career, which began in 1988, Eric Isorce
initially worked for the French Air Force, flying the N2501, C135F,
Mirage IV and Mirage 2000N. After graduating as a flight test engineer
from the French school for flight test personnel EPNER (l’Ecole du
Personnel Navigant d’Essais et de Réception) in 1991, he worked at the
Centre d’Essais en Vol, the French flight test centre in Istres, as a
project flight test engineer leader and navigator weapon system officer
for the Mirage 2000D, Rafale and FLA programmes. In 1995, he took part,
amongst other things, in the preparation of Allied Forces in Kosovo,
flying the Mirage 2000D. He left the French Air Force with the rank of
During a career in the French Air Force, French airworthiness
authorities and at Airbus, Mr Isorce has accumulated more than 5,600
flight hours including more than 4,000 hours of flight test on more than
45 different aircraft types.
Born in Avignon, France in 1957, he graduated from the Ecole
Militaire de l’Air in Salon de Provence in 1981 and has a Master’s
degree in mechanical and aeronautical engineering from the Conservatoire
National des Arts et Metiers in Aix en Provence.
(far right) Flight test engineer has been responsible for
preparing the A400M flight test campaign since 2005, specialising more
specifically in the Europrop International (EPI) TP- 400 turboprop
engine which is to power the A400M. As such, he led the C-130 flying
testbed programme, on which the all new TP-400 was tried in the air.
Prior to this, Mr. Cottet was flight test engineer for the Engine
Alliance GP7200 turbofan on the A380 and, before that, for the Pratt
& Whitney PW6000 engine on the A318. From 2001 to 2003, he was
Airbus flight test engineer for acceptance test flights.
Jean Philippe Cottet began his career with Aerospatiale as an
aerodynamic design engineer working on the development of supersonic
wing shapes for future designs. He also trained as an accident
investigator at the French institute for air safety (Institut Français
de Sécurité Arienne - IFSA). From 1995 to 2001 he served as Aérospatiale
Concorde support manager and then Concorde accident investigation team
Jean Philippe Cottet graduated from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de
l’Aéronautique et de l’Espace (ENSAE) in 1990. He also received flight
-test training at French flight test training school EPNER (l’Ecole du
Personnel Navigant d’Essais et de Réception) from which he graduated in
2004. Hes also trained at ECATA (European Consortium for Advanced
Training in Aerospace).
Born in 1966 in Belfort, north-east France
(second from left) has been Airbus Senior Flight Test Engineer -
Handling Qualities since 2002 with responsibility for handling
qualities, flight controls, loads and flutter on all the company’s
aircraft programmes. Prior to this, he was closely involved in the
A340-600 flight test programme. He has been working on the A400M
programme since 1998.
Mr Ronceray studied general engineering at the Ecole Polytechnique
(graduating in 1978) and specialised in aeronautics at the Ecole
Nationale Supérieure de l'Aéronautique et de l'Espace, from which he
graduated in 1980.
He joined the flight test data reduction department of Aérospatiale
in 1980. In 1983-1984, he was sent for training and graduated as a
flight test engineer at the French flight test school EPNER (l’Ecole du
Personnel Navigant d’Essais et de Réception).Before joining Airbus in 1998, Mr Ronceray was a flight test engineer
on the C-160 Transall and the Fokker F-27 ARAT (weather research
aircraft) from 1984 to 1989, then on the ATR twinturboprop product line
up to 1997. During this period, he also spent two years as a Beluga
project flight test engineer, and took part in the TCAS
collision-avoidance system on the
In 2001, he conducted the tests culminating in recovery of the Concorde Flight Airworthiness certificate.
Mr Ronceray also qualified as a private pilot in 1980 and as
commercial pilot in 1987.He gained his instrument rating in 1991, and
was subsequently type-rated on the ATR series, A300-600ST Beluga,
Corvette, A330 and A340.Didier Ronceray has logged more than 7,000 flight hours including nearly 2,400 as a pilot.Born in Paris in 1955.
Rounding out the team is Gerard Leskerpit
(second from right),he has been the
Flight Test Engineer in charge of all Airbus military programmes since
2005. He was previously a flight test engineer in the Airbus Acceptance
Department from 2001.
As a French Air Force pilot, Gérard Leskerpit joined France’s
DGA (Direction générale pour l’armement) Flight Test Centre at Brétigny
(near Paris) in 1992, and then underwent the test flight engineer
training course at the French test pilot school EPNER (l’Ecole du
Personnel Navigant d’Essais et de Réception), which he completed 1996.
Mr. Leskerpit became a flight test engineer at the DGA’s flight test centre in Istres in 1997 before moving to Airbus in 2001.Mr. Leskerpit’s aviation career began when he entered the
French Air Force’s Technical School aged 17, to begin an engine and
propeller training course, after which he became an engine maintenance
specialist on the C-160 Transall. Following training as a flight
engineer, he flew operationally on the Transall before becoming an
instructor on the French Air Force’s Lockheed C-130 Hercules conversion
unit in 1989.Gérard Leskerpit has clocked up around 8,000 flight hours,
including 3,500 in flight testing, on more than 60 different types. He
also holds private and glider pilot licences. Born in south-west France in 1959.
For its first flight the aircraft took off at a weight of 127 tonnes, carrying 15 tonnes of test equipment including two tonnes of water ballast, compared with its maximum take-off weight of 141 tonnes. As planned, the six-man crew extensively explored the aircraft's flight envelope in direct law, including a wide speed-range, and tested lowering and raising of the landing gear and high-lift devices at altitude. After checking the aircraft's performance in the landing configuration the crew landed back at Seville.
The first Airbus Military A400M military airlifter (MSN01)completed a successful maiden flight lasting 3h 47min at Seville on 11th December 2009.