The first BelugaXL took off on 19 July 2018 morning from Blagnac in Toulouse, France at 10:30 hrs local time, for its maiden flight over south-western France. The aircraft is the first of five BelugaXL to enter into service later in 2019 and to gradually replace the BelugaST transporters.
The crew in the cockpit on board this flight comprised: Captain Christophe Cail, Co-Pilot Bernardo Saez-Benito Hernandez and Test-Flight Engineer Jean Michel Pin. Meanwhile, monitoring the aircraft systems and performance in real-time at the flight-test-engineer’s (FTE) station were Laurent Lapierre and Philippe Foucault.
The first of five BelugaXL aircraft to fly has landed at Toulouse-Blagnac, France at 14:41 hrs local time after successfully completing its first flight lasting four hours and 11 minutes.
Following the first flight, the BelugaXL will undergo some 600 hours of flight test over 10 months to achieve Type Certification and entry into service later in 2019.
The BelugaXL programme was launched in November 2014 to address Airbus’ transport capacity requirements in view of the A350 XWB ramp-up and Single-Aisle production rate increases. Five aircraft will be built between 2019 and 2023 to gradually replace the five BelugaST.
Based on an A330-200 Freighter, the BelugaXL is powered by Rolls Royce Trent 700 engines. The lowered cockpit, the cargo bay structure and the rear-end and tail were newly developed jointly with suppliers, giving the aircraft its distinctive look.
The aircraft will operate from 11 destinations as Airbus’ method of transporting large aircraft components.