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Airbus Beluga Turns 20

Airbus Beluga Turns 20

Airbus’ distinctive “Beluga” aircraft made its first flight 20 years ago this past weekend.

The Airbus A300-600ST, a transport aircraft often referred to as “the Beluga” for its uncanny resemblance to the whale of the same name, made its first-ever flight on Sept. 13, 1994. The aircraft, dubbed by at least one media outlet as “the world’s strangest-looking airplane,” is used by Airbus to help fly large plane pieces to its assembly lines in Toulouse, France, and Hamburg.

The Beluga is capable of holding the wings of an A340 widebody. It also is capable of transporting the fuselage section of Airbus’ newest widebody jet, the A350. Such oversized parts would otherwise be difficult or downright impossible to fit into typical transport aircraft. Airbus paid homage to the 20th anniversary of the first Beluga flight.

For the complete story by Ben Mutzabaugh of USA TODAY, click here.

Updated: September 17, 2014 — 10:14 AM

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