Airbus Beluga in flight over Hamburg in old initial Airbus livery.
|Role||Outsize cargo freight aircraft|
|Passengers||No seats/passengers, cargo configuration|
|First flight||13 September 1994|
|Entered service||September 1995|
|Length||184 ft, 3 in||56.15 metres|
|Wingspan||147 ft, 1 in||44.84 metres|
|Height||56 ft, 7 in||17.24 metres|
|Wing area||2,785.7 sq ft||258.80 square metres|
|Maximum takeoff||155 t|
|Engine||2 × GE CF6-80C2A8|
|Power (each)||52,500 to 63,500 lb||234 to 282 kN|
|Range||1,501 nmi (40 t payload), 2,501 nmi (26 t payload)||2,779 kilometres (40 t payload), 4,632 kilometres (26 t payload)|
|Rate of climb|
The Beluga was developed by SATIC to meet a requirement for a new type, to replace the fleet of Super Guppy aircraft used to transport components for Airbus airliners from the factories to the assembly plants. The Airbus A300 was used as the basis for the new type, which featured an enlarged upper fuselage and a relocated cockpit section, placed below and ahead of the forward cargo hold door, which allows the payload to be rolled on and rolled off.[N 1]
The first flight took place on 13 September 1994, and lasted 4 hours and 23 minutes. The certification process, which included 400 hours of flight time, was completed in September 1995, and led to the first of five examples for Airbus Industrie being delivered in January 1996. The fleet was completed by delivery of the fifth example in December 2000.
The type was named Beluga due to it's resemblance to the Beluga whale.
- ↑ This has reduced the average turnaround time to 45 minutes, compared to 2 to 3 hours for the Super Guppy.