Airbus locks in maiden flight date for Beluga XL

After strenuous ground testing and lots of teasers, Airbus has finally announced the time of which the Beluga XL will meet the clouds.

The aircraft is set to takeoff on the 19th of July and will be live streamed by Airbus on their Twitter page starting at 0830GMT. Keep in mind that this date is whether permitting.

The Beluga XL is Airbus’ newest and largest specialized cargo aircraft. Based of the A330, the Beluga XL holds the full name of Airbus A330-743L. Powered by two Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines, the XL can carry additional components of greater size.

The maximum takeoff weight of 227 tonnes is more than enough to carry the load of two A350 wings at a time, assisting in the ramp up in A350 production. Current A300 Belugas take nine trips to deliver parts of A350s ready for assembly so this aircraft will be a huge benefit to Airbus’ wide body production.

Airbus plans to keep the existing A300 based Belugas in service when the XL commences operations. The mixed fleet will remain in place for at least five years to support growing narrow-body aircraft production.

Production began in in late 2016 and more pieces continued to arrive through 2017. The first aircraft rolled out complete with no engines and paint in January 2018. Engines were fitted in March of 2018 while the second frame was undergoing the conversion process.

Airbus had a special livery lined up for the aircraft long before final assembly started, electing to allow employees to vote for which design to use. Out of the six designs available, the majority of employees chose a design that resembled the Beluga as an icon of the Airbus family and the whale that the aircraft is named after as seen in the photo below.

Beluga XL MSN1824 in the new livery

The aircraft will undergo a short flight test campaign compromising of 1000 hours. Control tests, system validation tests and operational testing are those that Airbus will be focusing on.

For those curious about the specifications, here’s the list sourced from Airbus:

Overall length                                                    63.1 m
Height                                                               18.9 m
Fuselage diameter                                             8.8 m
Wingspan (geometric)                                        60.3 m
Wing area (reference)                                         361.6 m2

Engines                                                            Rolls Royce Trent 700 engines
Range                                                               2200nm at max payload (53 tonnes)

Maximum take-off weight                                   227 tonnes
Maximum landing weight                                    187 tonnes
Maximum zero fuel weight                                  178 tonnes


Airbus has confirmed the date of the maiden flight for the Beluga XL! On the 19th of July, the A330-743L Beluga XL is set to touch the clouds providing whether is appropriate. The event will be live streamed on Airbus’ Twitter page at 0830GMT. The Beluga XL is the newest member of Airbus’ specialized freight aircraft, offering larger cargo capacity and more efficient operations. The aircraft will be able to carry two A350 wings per flight rather than the current one on the A300 based Beluga. This will aid the company in widebody ramp up. The A300 Belugas will remain in service for at least time years in order to battle the growing narrow body backlog. As mentioned in previous posts, the livery is rather special in terms of the fact that Airbus employees got to choose from six options. A short 1000 hour test campaign will be conducted to test primary control characteristics and system validation. Don’t expect ant world tours or similar! Stay tuned as I’ll be covering the even on this page! Photo by @airbus #airbus #airbusbeluga #airbuslovers #airbusaviation #a330 #boeing #boeinglovers #boeingaviation #737 #avgeek #avgeeks #aviationgeek #aviation #aviationgeeks #aviationgoals #aviationdaily #aviationworld #aviationlovers #aviationlife #aviationphotography #takeoff #landing #planes #planelovers #planegeeks #planeporn #news #toulouse

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