Beluga Transport Aircraft
The Airbus Beluga, officially designated the A300-600ST Super Transporter,
was introduced to replace the charismatic Super
Guppy transport aircraft. The Beluga boasts the largest cargo
hold of any civil or military aircraft in operation, this enormous
cargo hold allows the Beluga to transport oversized loads all over
the world, quickly and safely.
The Beluga was originally developed to carry complete sections of
Airbus aircraft, including the double
decker Airbus A380, from various production sites around Europe
to the final assembly lines in located in Toulouse and Hamburg. The
Beluga's main cargo deck volume is greater than any of it's competitors,
including the American Lockheed C5 Galaxy and Russian Antonov An-124.
However both these aircraft and the Boeing 747 can carry more overall
Airbus Transport International (ATI) operates five of the Beluga transport
aircraft, each one began life as a wide-body twin-engine Airbus A300
airliner, and surprisingly the vast majority of the aircraft remains
standard, including engines, wings, landing gear and lower fuselage.
The obvious changes Airbus made to the Beluga include the addition
of the bloated upper fuselage measuring 7.4 metres in diameter, and
to provide access to the cargo area the cockpit has been relocated
below the cargo floor level. Lastly, the tail has been enlarged and
strengthened to maintain directional stability.
The Airbus Beluga can carry a maximum payload of 47 metric tonnes
in its 1,400 cubic metre cargo bay, and fly non-stop over a range
of 1,660km/900 nautical miles. If needed aircraft can also fly transatlantic
deliveries with a lighter payload of 31 metric tonnes.
In their time the charter-hire Beluga's have transported cargo serving
the space, military and civilian sectors.
It certainly would be an impressive way to move house.