The first Airbus Beluga XL was assembled (photo)

The first Airbus Beluga XL was assembled (photo)

We are pleased to see how a new aircraft is born in the hangars of a large manufacturer. We are talking here about the Airbus Beluga XL, which came off the Toulouse assembly line.

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I enthusiastically followed the creation and manufacture of the aircraft Beluga XL, the next generation of Airbus cargo super-aircraft.

Airbus Beluga XL

In December 2015 began manufacturing this aircraft, and in January 2018 came out of the Airbus hangars in Toulouse.

Airbus Beluga-XL-assembled

With the help of these oversized aircraft, Airbus will be able to transport complete aircraft sections to the final assembly lines from Toulouse (France), Hamburg (Germany) and Spain.

BelugaXL is one of the largest aircraft in existence. It is an aircraft built on the structure of the Airbus A330-200 aircraft, but with the large cargo area. Turning an existing product into a super carrier is no easy task.

Airbus Beluga-XL-tail

The main part of the Beluga XL aircraft is obtained by oversizing the fuselage from 5.6 meters (diameter of A330) to 8.8 meters. The cockpit is shrunk to allow loading / unloading of the aircraft over it.

The new Beluga XL has a long stand of 54 meters and 8 meters in diameter, and the useful transport capacity will be 50 tons. After the new dimensions, Beluga XL will be able to transport parts and structures of Airbus A350 XWB. It will fit a pair of wings for the A350 XWB, something that cannot be done today with the current Beluga.

Airbus Beluga-XL-structure-assembly

The first Airbus Beluga XL will operate the first flight in the middle of 2018, but until then it will undergo ground tests. After installing the 2 engines, all aircraft systems and functionalities will be tested.

While the first Airbus Beluga XL is preparing for testing, the second has entered the production phase. The entire fleet will include 5 Beluga XL aircraft. The first Beluga XL aircraft will enter operational service in 2019.

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