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Alan RustFirst Airbus BelugaXL transporter under construction

The Airbus BelugaXL is a large transport aircraft under construction and due to enter into service in 2019. The XL has an extension on the fuselage top like the Beluga. It is being designed, built and will be operated by Airbus to move oversized aircraft components.

The BelugaXL is the successor of the current generation of Beluga, the BelugaST. The program was launched in November 2014 to address the transport capacity requirements in view of the A350 XWB ramp-up and other aircraft production rate increases. Airbus decided to expand its existing BelugaST fleet with the development and production of five new BelugaXL aircraft, derived from the company’s versatile A330 widebody product line.

Based on the A330-200 freighter with a large re-use of existing components and equipment, the first BelugaXL aircraft is planned to enter service in 2019—operating in parallel with the existing five-aircraft BelugaST fleet. Five BelugaXLs should operate by mid-2022.

The aircraft is 63.1 m long, 18.8 m high, with a fuselage diameter of 8.8 m. The BelugaXL can carry a maximum payload of 52 metric tonnes nonstop over a range of 4,074 km/2,200 nm. The BelugaXL can transport two A350 XWB wings while the BelugaST could only transport one. Click on image below for more information.

  Airbus Beluga XL

General characteristics

Capacity: 53 t (117,000 lb) payload
Length: 63.1 m (207 ft 0 in)
Wingspan: 60.3 m (197 ft 10 in)
Height: 18.9 m (62 ft 0 in)
Wing area: 361.6 m2 (3,892 sq ft)
Aspect ratio: 10.1
Maximum takeoff weight: 227,000 kg (500,449 lb)
Maximum landing weight: 187 t (412,000 lb)
Maximum zero fuel weight: 178 t (392,000 lb)
Empty weight: 125 t (276,000 lb)
Fuselage diameter: 8.8 m (29 ft)
Powerplant: 2 × Rolls-Royce Trent 700 Turbofan, 316 kN (71,000 lbf) thrust each

Performance

Range: 4,074 km; 2,532 mi (2,200 nmi) at max payload

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