How’s the Beluga ST, the whale that crossed the skies of Latin America for the first time in its history

An Airbus Beluga plane takes off from Toulouse Airport, France. (Reuters/Regis Duvignau/File Photo)

A few days ago, a historic moment passed for the Brazilian and Latin American aviation community when the Airbus A300-600ST landed in the region, Known as “Beluga”For the first time in history.

The Beluga is a cargo plane that got its nickname from its special resemblance to the animals called this, a type of whale with a prominent forehead that inhabits the arctic and subarctic regions.

The aircraft is one of the most eye-catching aerial devices due to its special shape, and it has attracted everyone’s attention spotted-People who have a hobby of observing and seeing aircraft and flying enthusiasts in general.

An Airbus Beluga has landed in Fortaleza, the first time in history that this aircraft has flown to Latin America. (Youtube site)

The plane landed in Fortaleza last Sunday with Three helicopters ACH160 Line LoungeAnd the They are valued at over $5 million eachAnd the Inland, which was in the process of exporting to Brazil for presentation at the region’s largest executive aviation event, the Latin American Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition (LAPAS) and later, for delivery to early model customers in Latin America.

Before arriving in Fortaleza, Beluga left Marseille with a valuable cargo of the three helicopters, stopped in Dakar, Senegal, in the Brazilian city, and then headed for its final destination at Campinas Viracopos, also in Brazil.

In both Fortaleza and Campinas, a beluga plane, also called a “whale plane”, was greeted by a crowd of fans and spectators. Who came to see one of the most unusual planes built by man.

Its special shape has attracted the attention of curious people over the years.  (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Its special shape has attracted the attention of curious people over the years. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

The Beluga ST has been in service since 1994 but never made it to Latin America. The fact that it landed a few days ago in Brazil responds to the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, where this class of cargo was previously carried out by the An-124 Ruslan fleet subcontracted to Volga-Dnepr Airlines, an airline subject to sanctions due to the Russian invasion.

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This aircraft model It was built from the Airbus A300-600 to be modified with a much longer and wider body. Only five Beluga models were made during the 1990s. The main objective of the modification was to transport bulky cargo such as the fuselage of an Airbus A320 or the giant wings of an Airbus A380 between various factories and assembly units in around the manufacturer from all over Europe.

In addition, the Beluga came to replace the Super Guppy, the previous cargo plane designed by Boeing, its main competitor.

The new Beluga XL is larger and has a face on the fuselage that mimics the animals that gave it its nickname.  (Reuters/Christian Mange)
The new Beluga XL is larger and has a face on the fuselage that mimics the animals that gave it its nickname. (Reuters/Christian Mange)

Airbus is proud that Beluga Capable of transporting any load up to 7m wide and 6.7m highwithout the need for transportation adaptations, access to a The maximum load is up to 47 tons.

Recently, Airbus launched its own cargo division with Beluga aircraft, with its own air operator certification and staffing. Airbus Beluga Transport debuted as a cargo airline at the end of 2021 Delivering a helicopter from the Airbus manufacturing center in Marignan, France, to Kobe, Japan.

however, The Beluga ST will soon be replaced by their new sibling, the Beluga XLBuilt on the Airbus A330-200, this new cargo plane will be slightly larger but won’t lose its distinctive shape that makes the eye think a whale is sailing in the sky.

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