Aircraft that land at Tarbes–Lourdes–Pyrenees Airport in France often never take off again—many are headed for the local scrapyard. And while the first-ever flying Airbus A340-300 is nearing the end of its career after more than 25 years of testing in various roles, its visit to Tarbes, just north of the Pyrenees, does not presage its imminent grounding. In fact, it has been tapped for one last, long-term flight-test assignment that researchers hope will lay the ground work ...

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