Friday, September 12, 2014

Happy birthday to the Beluga

Twenty years ago, in September 1994, the Airbus Beluga first took to the air.  A highly modified version of the Airbus A300-600, it was designed to take the place of the Super Guppy transports (based on Boeing 377 Stratocruisers that first flew in 1947) initially used by Airbus to ferry aircraft components and sections between plants in Germany, France, Spain, and later England.

Beluga transport loading the Columbus module
(click the image for a larger view)

A total of five Beluga transports were built.  For the 20th anniversary of the type's first flight, Airbus gathered them all together for a group photograph.  Click it for a larger view.

A few months ago, in preparation for the anniversary, Airbus arranged to fly a Beluga in formation with the Patrouille de France aerobatic team.  Here's a video of the occasion.  I recommend watching it in full-screen mode.

Impressively big, isn't it? The Boeing Dreamlifter is larger, but it's designed for much longer journeys with much bigger components.



Anonymous said...

Those wings don't look big enough!


Graybeard said...

I've seen the insides of the Dreamlifter and it looks like the Mall of the Americas in there. It's hard to describe how preposterously huge it looks.

There's a rumor that some FedEx guys saw the insides of that and started getting all excited. Wondering if it would be useful to add a couple to their fleet.

Old NFO said...

What, no aileron rolls??? :-) And that was a truly 'loose' formation...