Flying giant Airbus Beluga
The main purpose of designing the A300-600ST was the transportation of Airbus own cargoes, to be exact, parts of other airliners manufactured by the company (for example, components of the Airbus A310 cabin) to the final assembly sites. Previously, the consortium used for this purpose rail and water transport. With the increase in production capacity, the company required a decision to reduce the delivery time of components, which led to the creation of a special air carrier.
In addition, the transportation by rail and sea of such dimensional objects causes major problems at all stages of loading operations. Using airways simplifies this task at times.
Airliner “Beluga” is able to take on board cargo with a maximum mass of 47 tons. The aircraft has a wide fuselage, the diameter of which is 7.4 m. These characteristics are enough to allow for boarding, for example, two wings from the Airbus A330 assembled or most of the components of the liner of the Airbus A319.
At the maximum loading, “Beluga” overcomes the distance to 1,700 km at a speed of 570 km / h. When using half the mass of the maximum load capacity (ie about 26 tons), this distance increases to 4600 km.
“Beluga” has impressive overall and technical characteristics:
|Length, height, wingspan||56.1 x 17.24 x 44.84 meters
|Wing area||122.40 sq.m.|
|Diameter of the fuselage||7,4 m|
|Working volume of cargo hold||1210 cubic meters.|
|Weight without load||86 t|
|Maximum take-off weight||not more than 155 t
(ie full load)
|Engines||reactive models “CF6-80C2A8” produced by General Electric|
Although these figures are quite high for air carriers, the Beluga airplane is still inferior to its closest analogues. So, the well-known An-225 aircraft (the advanced model An-124 Ruslan) is able to take much more cargo on board – up to 250 tons.
However, in 2014 it became known that the company Airbus intends to launch the production of the next generation of cargo aircraft. At the moment nothing is known about them, except that they will be constructed on the basis of the existing passenger airliner Airbus A340. The creation of this apparatus is justified by the need to transport parts of the A380 aircraft, which are currently being transported by land and water.
The approximate date of commissioning a new aircraft is known – 2019-2020. The expected number of liners is not less than 5 units.