The first Beluga XL took off for the very first time today in front of more than 10,000 people. The aircraft departed Toulouse-Blagnac Airport at 10:30 hrs local time, and was in the air for four hours of test flight. The Aircraft just landed.
The Aircraft will undergo 10 month – 600-hour flight test certification campaign and expected to enter service in 2019.
The new Beluga XL is six meters longer and and one metre wider with 6 tonnes more payload than the Beluga A300-600ST transporter. Five aircraft will enter service in coming years and progressively replace all Beluga STs by 2025.
The aircraft powered by two Rolls-Royce Trent 700 high bypass turbofan engines has the maximum take-off and landing weights of 227t and 187t respectively. The aircraft weighs 178t with zero fuel.
— Airbus (@Airbus) July 19, 2018