The first BelugaXL took off this 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 BelugaXL was launched in November 2014 to address the transport and ramp-up capacity requirements for Airbus beyond 2019. The new oversize air transporters are based on the A330-200 Freighter, with a large re-use of existing components and equipment.