By Abbie Ridge
Let’s hear it for the ‘Beluga’, the whale-shaped aircraft that today is celebrating 17 years since its first flight.
Love it or hate it, the Airbus A300-600ST certainly has character, its eye-catching design allowing it to transport key aircraft components from all over Europe to Toulouse and Hamburg for final assembly.
Built to replace four modified ‘Super Guppies’, this aircraft flew from Toulouse for four hours, with Gilbert Defer and Lucien Bernard piloting and key engineers Jean-Pierre Flamant and Didier Ronceray also on-board. The A300-600ST was certified in October 1995, after 335 test hours and went into service in January 1996.
- In pictures – a gallery of images on AirSpace
From the archive:
- How successful the Beluga has been in comparison to its predecessor “The Guppy”.
- Developments of the Beluga
- Testing of the first Airbus Beluga
- How the Beluga hopes to revolutionise the way equipment is transported globally.