If there's ANYTHING known about Airbus, they make BIG flying machines.... Yes, take a good look at the Airbus Beluga, with the exception of the A380, this aircraft carries large sections of the Airbus family of aircraft into Toulouse, France for final assembly.
- Airbus' five Belugas are made to transport huge items, such as aircraft wings
- The Beluga was designed to end Airbus' reliance on the Boeing Super Guppy
- Airbus may be looking at a potential "Beluga XL" replacement
Airbus' production centers are scattered all over the continent, a legacy of its origins as a pan-European consortium.Each factory specializes in the completion of a specific section of an aircraft.
The five Belugas, all operated by Airbus, link these plants and take the different aircraft sections to the final assembly line, either in Toulouse or Hamburg.
The Beluga A300-600ST on Takeoff - Beluga #2 of the 5 in number
A plane spotter's dream --- Wow. Beluga #3
Beluga has brought many a plane spotter to Toulouse. Visitors can often
be found sitting on the grass near Toulouse Blagnac Airport waiting for
one of the five big beauties to take off or land.|
Built for volume, not weight
|With a diameter of 7.1 meters, the Beluga has an incredibly large cargo hold. Though its maximum payload of 47 tons is surpassed by only a handful of cargo aircraft, the hold makes it good for oversized but not particularly heavy cargo|
|The A300-600ST Super Transporter is operated by a crew of three: two pilots and a loadmaster.|
Flying white whale - Spot the difference?
A300-600ST Super Transporter
|The Beluga's jet
speed and efficiency allows "for short transport times to meet strict
production schedules," says Airbus. "A semi-automated main deck cargo
loading system ensures easy and efficient handling of aircraft
Sum of many parts
A350. It's not large enough to transport parts for the A380 super jumbo. Those travel by boat, barge and road.
The Beluga's future
|Airbus is looking at a potential replacement for the aging A300-600ST Super Transporter. Though no final decisions have been made, the "Beluga XL" is expected to have a longer range and ability to carry heavier payloads.|