Launched in 2014, the project of making an airplane that can carry the wings of another aircraft is approaching the end. The world’s newest airplane, which will be produced in just five copies, passed these days on the first test flight.
Last week, the first of the five Airbus Beluga XLs took off and, after four hours and 11 minutes, landed at Toulouse-Blagnac. Although the first flight was a success, it will take ten months for the aircraft to enter service, over 600 hours of test flights.
The Beluga XL was built to meet the current transport needs of the producing company, Airbus and follows its predecessor, Beluga. If the basic version of the plane, Beluga, came into service in 1995, was based on an A300-600 aircraft and could carry a plane wing, the older brother, Beluga XL, was developed on the A330 platform. It can carry two wings of the single-isle A350 XWB. The propulsion is made by two Rolls Royce Trent 700 engines.
The Beluga XL is shorter than the famous Antonov 225 (An-225 Mriya) with nearly 20 meters.