Flightradar24 Blog


Thar it flies! — the Airbus BelugaXL Makes First Flight

Share this article

Airbus’ supersized whale took to the skies for the first time today in Toulouse, spending 4 hours 14 minutes above southern France. The BelugaXL will join the current Beluga fleet in moving Airbus aircraft components between production sites. The BelugaXL is 30% larger than the Beluga, enabling it to carry two A350 wings at a time rather than just one.

The BelugaXL is based on the A330 airframe, with significant structural modifications to the fuselage and empennage. The original Beluga, of which 5 were produced, is based on the Airbus A300. Airbus plans to produce five BelugaXLs as it phases out the Beluga from use over the coming years.

First Flight

BelugaXL number 1 (reg F-WBXL | MSN 1824) departed on first flight at 08:30 UTC and spent 4 hours 14 minutes aloft before returning to Toulouse. The first flight crew consisted of two pilots, Christophe Cail, Captain and Bernardo Saez-Benito Hernandez, First Officer; and three engineers, Jean Michel Pin, test flight engineer; Philippe Foucault and Laurent Lapierre, flight test engineers.

First Flight Images

BelugaXL-First-Flight-Air-To-Air-033 BelugaXL-First-Flight-Take-Off-012 BelugaXL-First-Flight-Air-To-Air-045 BelugaXL-First-Flight-Low-Pass-002 Beluga-First-Flight-Arrival-001 BelugaXL-First-Flight-Landing-010 BelugaXL-First-Flight-Air-To-Air-046 BelugaXL-First-Flight-take-off Beluga-First-Flight-static-display-01

Images of first flight courtesy Airbus

Featured photo © Eurospot

On The Radar Logo

Get the latest aviation news delivered to you

Get the latest aviation news delivered to you

Flight tracking and aviation industry news direct to your inbox

Aviation news comes quickly, so join more than 600,000 others who receive weekly aviation industry and flight tracking news from Flightradar24 direct to their inbox.

Share this article

Useful flight tracking glossary

View our glossary of terms which you may encounter either on our site or in aviation in general that we hope enriches your flight tracking experience.

About Flightradar24

Flightradar24 is a global flight tracking service that provides you with real-time information about thousands of aircraft around the world.

Don't miss out on the latest Flightradar24 videos!

Subscribe to our YouTube channel to see our latest videos as soon as they’re published!

Latest video
On The Radar Logo
Get weekly updates on Flightradar24 and have the latest aviation news land in your inbox.

How flight tracking works

Flightradar24 combines data from several data sources including ADS-B, MLAT and radar data.
Search the blog
Trending articles
Follow us
Latest AvTalk Podcasts

Building hours the fun way

Pilots need to continually build their number of flight hours as they work toward additional licenses and proficiencies. Many pilots do this with standard pattern work and flights to various airports in their region. Then there’s Capt Butter, a pilot who is self-described as “a little bit too invested in BYU football.”

Related news

Flight tracking top 10 aircraft

Explore the top 10 most tracked aircraft and find out why these particular aircraft draw so much interest.

Help to grow our flight tracking coverage

We are continually looking to improve our flight tracking and the airports below are where new receivers will add the most coverage. Apply for a receiver today and if accepted you’ll receiver a free Flightradar24 Business Subscription.

Free ADS-B Receiver
Flightradar24 logo
Try the full Flightradar24 experience free for 7 days
Remove ads and unlock over 50 additional features
On The Radar Logo

Get the Flightradar24 Aviation newsletter

Flight tracking and aviation industry news direct to your inbox

Aviation news comes quickly, so we want to bring more of the aviation world to you with our weekly Flightradar24 aviation newsletter - On The Radar.

On The Radar Logo