Posted on July 23, 2018 · Posted in Factory Fresh
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Ten days after the official presentation, the BelugaXL completed its four-hour maiden flight at Blagnac in Toulouse, France.

The BelugaXL will now undergo some 600 hours of flight test over the next 10 months to achieve Type Certification and entry into service later in 2019. The aircraft is the first of five BelugaXL to enter into service and to gradually replace the BelugaST transporters between 2019 and 2023.

The aircraft will operate from 11 destinations as Airbus’ method of transporting large aircraft components.

Based on an A330-200 Freighter, the BelugaXL is powered by Rolls Royce Trent 700 engines. The lowered cockpit, the cargo bay structure and the rear-end and tail were newly developed jointly with suppliers, giving the aircraft its distinctive look. The BelugaXL is six metres longer, one metre wider and has a payload lifting capacity four-tonnes-greater than the current Beluga A300-600ST.

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With a bulging upper forward fuselage and enormous cargo area, Airbus’ BelugaXL already is highly recognisable. The addition of a cheerful face to the distinctly-shaped airframe will further reinforce it in the public’s mind. The unconventional paint scheme was selected by Airbus employees in a company-wide vote conducted last year.

The paint shop rollout is another major milestone as Airbus’ first BelugaXL concludes a comprehensive ground testing phase – including a total of 72 specific evaluations required prior to the aircraft’s maiden flight. This included the heavy ground test phase, which focused on introducing loads into the highly modified airframe, followed by an eight-day ground vibration campaign that wrapped up earlier this month.

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We’ve digitized all 36 years of 426 Wings & Airpower vintage aviation history magazines into downloadable PDF eBooks for you to read on your computer, tablet, or smartphone. Purchase and immediately download your Wings & Airpower Complete Set today!

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