Published: 24th November 2022
#WhatTheFAQ: Airbus Beluga's brief landing grabs attention. What's the aircraft all about? Why the name Beluga?
Airbus Beluga, the cargo aircraft, landed at the Mumbai airport on Tuesday, November 23, and has been grabbing all the headlines ever since
Whale shaped? Dolphin shaped? — the Super Transporter has invited all the cetacean comparisons it can. Airbus Beluga A300-600ST landed at Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) on Tuesday, November 22. The aircraft, briefly, also landed at the Kolkata airport on Sunday, November 20, and since its spotting, it has grabbed all the attention.
What's in a name?
The cetacean comparisons are not out of nothing; the name Beluga itself comes from the beluga whale (also known as the white whale) — the Arctic cetacean. The name was officially adopted after it gained popularity owing to its uncanny resemblance to aquatic mammals. Initially, the cargo aircraft used to be called the Super Transporter.
What is the size of the aircraft?
Airbus Beluga is considered one of the world's largest aircrafts. The flight is 56.16 m (184 ft 3 inches) long, 17.25m (56 ft 7 in) tall and 44.84 m (147 ft 2 in) wide. "Featuring one of the most voluminous cargo holds of any civil or military aircraft flying today, the Airbus BelugaST offers a unique way to transport oversized air cargo," states the Airbus website.
What is the history of this Airbus?
The maiden flight of this aircraft took place on September 13, 1994. Beluga entered service in October 1995 after receiving the restricted certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). This was after the aircraft completed 335 flight hours during its test programme.
What makes the Airbus Beluga unique?
As one of the largest cargo planes, the Airbus beluga is capable of carrying a wide range of loads. Over the years, the Airbus has transported a variety of unusual goods. This includes entire helicopters, space station components, industrial machinery and more. The Airbus website reads, "Offered as the Airbus Beluga Transport commercial service, these aircrafts will provide customers with large cargo transport solutions for a variety of sectors, including space, energy, military, aeronautics, maritime and humanitarian sectors."