BelugaXL on course to fly in 2018

Posted on 30 Oct 2017 and read 276 times
BelugaXL on course to fly in 2018The first of five next-generation Airbus BelugaXL super-transporters is on schedule for its maiden flight next year, to be followed by a 10-month flight test programme.

It is being assembled at the company’s Toulouse-Blagnac facility in south-western France — home to Airbus’s main industrial facility — and three-quarters of the structural assembly has been completed.

Eric Belloc, who is in charge of the BelugaXL final-assembly activity, said all elements of the aircraft’s specially designed tail section have now been received.

They will be attached to the airframe after systems, mechanical and electrical integration have been completed. The next major step will be assembly of the front main deck cargo door; this is scheduled for the beginning of December.

Final assembly of the second aircraft will commence in December, and the remaining three aircraft will be produced at a rate of one per year. Mr Belloc added: “While challenging, this really is a great project.

The Beluga is a very special aircraft — a symbol of Airbus — and we’re proud to be working on the next-generation version.”

The BelugaXL project was launched in November 2014 to address the transport and ramp-up capacity requirements for Airbus beyond 2019.

Derived from the freighter version of Airbus’s A330-200 jetliner, the BelugaXL is 6m longer, 1m wider and has a payload lifting capacity 6 tonnes greater than the current Beluga A300-600ST.

When operational, the fleet of five BelugaXLs will take over transporting complete sections of Airbus aircraft between the company’s production sites around Europe and to final-assembly lines in France, Germany and Spain.

The aircraft is due to enter service in 2019.

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