Although this news has nothing to do with an X-Plane aircraft, it’s worth to bring this to your attention … the evolution of the Airbus/Boeing Super Guppy, the Airbus Beluga and, logically, followed by the Beluga XL.
The Airbus Beluga XL (Airbus A330-700L) is a large transport aircraft due to enter into service in 2019. It is based on the A330-200 airliner, to be the successor to the Airbus Beluga. The XL has an extension on the fuselage top like the Beluga. It is being designed, built and will be operated by Airbus to move oversized aircraft components. The aircraft made its first flight on 19 July 2018.
In 2013 the five original Belugas could not cope with production growth and Airbus evaluated the Antonov An-124 and An-225, Boeing C-17 or Dreamlifter, and A400M before choosing to modify one of its own. The program was launched in November 2014 to build five aircraft to replace the existing five Belugas, the design freeze was announced on 16 September 2015.
The first BelugaXL rolled out of the assembly line on 4 January 2018, unpainted and with no engines. Fewer than 1,000 flight test hours are planned for its certification campaign. After fitting its engines, it will be ground tested for months to assess its systems operation, while bench tests in Toulouse and Hamburg, on flight simulators and in laboratories, simulate flight loads on full-scale copies of specific joints between the upper bubble and the lower fuselage, clearing the aircraft for flight then type certification.
In March 2018, the first (MSN1824) was having its engines fitted while the second (MSN1853) was 30% converted. After successful landing-gear and flight-control system checks, MSN1824 will be fuel and ground tested. The third will begin its conversion before the end of 2018. MSN1853 will be first operational in 2019 after proving work in 11 European stations, while MSN1824 flight instrumentation will be disassembled. It was rolled out with its engines but no winglets in April 2018 (Courtesy of Wikepedia).
The movie is brought to you by Airbus; In the making: Airbus’ first BelugaXL