European aircraft manufacturer Airbus conducted the first flight test of the second instance of specialized cargo aircraft increased the capacity of the Beluga XL, designed to transport oversized cargo.
The production of aircraft Beluga XL continues to develop as planned, Airbus decided to “secure the future” of the internal transport network of the company, and therefore adds another new generation airliner in its fleet.
Beluga XL is created on the basis of wide-body aircraft A330 to provide transportation primarily in the interests of the A350 program. Aircraft equipped with Trent 700 engines for the production of Rolls-Royce.
The aircraft can perform flights on distance up to 4000 km at full load. It is designed to carry cargo weighing up to 53 T. the length of the transport is to 63.1 m, a wingspan of 60.3 m, a height of 18.9 m with a maximum takeoff weight of 227 T.
Sun will be officially put into operation at the end of the current year, and by 2023, six aircraft of the new type will replace the existing fleet of Airbus A300-600ST Super Transporter (also known as Beluga ST). This, however, does not imply that with the introduction of new aircraft into operation the era of Beluga ST will come to an end — the future of five aircraft of this type in the ranks, currently being considered.
While the program Beluga XL is approaching certification, Beluga ST continues to fulfill its responsibilities in the field of air transport. “They provided the necessary capacity, and in a few months we will reach a flight time of the fleet at 1000 hours,” said Philip Szabo, the head of the subsidiary, Airbus Transport International, which operates a fleet of five aircraft.
It is expected that the second aircraft of a new type will be put into operation in 2019, Earlier it was reported that by 2025, five of these machines will completely replace the previous version of Beluga ST (created on the basis of the discontinued A300 wide-body). However, the tested Beluga ST not yet scrapped the oversized cargo carriers can continue to fly for another 10 to 20 years, there is a possibility for a second life.
Rollout of the first aircraft Beluga XL, which received the livery of the “smiling China”, was held in June 2018 — is currently used in tests for compatibility and verification in the European industrial networks Airbus. The first flight of the second cargo plane, the Beluga XL, the designation MSN1853, held April 15, 2019 in Toulouse, in the South of France.