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Cargo Service: Airbus Beluga XL Swings Into Action, Completes Test Trial

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LAHORE MIRROR (Monitoring Desk)– The Airbus Beluga XL, one of the aviation world’s most hotly anticipated planes, finally spread its wings as the huge aircraft just completed a key round of testing at Hawarden Airport in Wales, ahead of entering service later this year.

At a time when jumbo passenger airliners such as the Airbus A380 and Boeing 747 are on their way out, the Beluga XL, the first of five, will be one of the biggest beasts in the skies.

This is a super-transporter cargo plane designed by Airbus to fly its aircraft components between European production sites and its final assembly lines in Toulouse, Hamburg and Tianjin.

The Beluga XL is the successor to the Beluga, or Airbus A300-600ST, which has been in operation since 1995.

Starting with an A330 airliner, Airbus engineers lowered the flight deck and grafted a huge cargo bay onto the fuselage to create this unusually shaped plane.

Through an upward-opening forward hatch on the “bubble,” completed aircraft wings, fuselage sections and other components easily slide in and out.

Beluga XL-15

The XL’s bubble is six meters longer and one meter wider than the original, meaning its cross-section is a whopping eight meters wide.

The plane’s distinctive bulbous shape has earned it the nickname “the flying whale,” due to its strong resemblance to the white-colored Arctic-dwelling mammal, the beluga.The XL’s twinkly-eyed, smiling-faced livery capitalizes on this.
The whimsical design was chosen by Airbus staff following a poll in which 20,000 employees were given six options and asked to choose their favorite. With 40% of the vote, it was the clear winner.
Pilots will be trained on the A330 and then they will get a Delta qualification to enable them to fly the Beluga XL.
“This is why we have lifted the vertical tail plane by more than two meters to get it out of the flow behind the cargo bay and we have also the special acceleration on the horizontal tail plane to give stability to the aircraft.”
The Beluga XL is powered by two Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines, which, as with its wings, are also used on the A330. 

SOURCE: CNN INTERNATIONAL