Airbus Launch New Beluga XL Plane That Looks Like A Whale
A new cargo transport aircraft designed by European aeroplane company Airbus has taken to the skies for the very first time. This wouldn't ordinarily be that interesting, except in this case, when the plane is deliberately designed and decorated to look like a gigantic whale.
It's even named after one. The Beluga XL plane took off from Toulouse Airport on its maiden voyage yesterday. It flew around for just over four hours with three members of crew on board, before touching back down right where it started.
A crowd of around 10,000 people, mostly staff members and contractors for Airbus, gathered to watch the bizarre whale of the skies take off, and rapturous applause, flag waving, and cheering broke out when it successfully left the floor.
It's not just there for show, either. The - shall we say - unique design of the Beluga XL allows for it to transport huge amounts of stuff, or huge items. It has been specifically designed to carry parts of other aircraft and can carry up to 51 tonnes at any given time. That's a fair amount, given that it has to lift off the floor and fly.
In fact, it's already 30 percent more than the Beluga models that it will replace can carry.
It turns out that the shape, as well as being hilarious, was just the best way of designing it. Whether or not the smile and whale's eye on the side of it have any purpose other than looking funny is not yet known.
They have neglected to draw a comedy blowhole on the top of it, which is a disappointment.
It will be a bit before you see the Beluga XL flying around in the skies near you. They are going to have to undergo further tests before they are expected to begin their working life in 2019.
It is thought that there will be five Beluga XL planes in service in the near future.
Tim Orr, the head of branding at Airbus, said: "The six designs we proposed for consideration by employees respected our brand identity while running from the conventional to the unconventional, even adding a touch of fun."
They've certainly managed that, even if it does look a little bit macabre when the whale's head peels back to take the cargo out.
Needless to say, the Airbus Twitter account was having a fun day. No whale pun was out of bounds.
We had, "Whale Whale Whale... That's a lovely day for a maiden flight don't you think."
They then went for, "Whalecome back!" upon landing.
Whalecome back! :airplane_arriving: #BelugaXL pic.twitter.com/QY2M6WpqR4
- Airbus (@Airbus) July 19, 2018
That's enough now.
It wasn't, they finished off with "Whale done, guys!".
Seriously. Stop it.
Featured Image Credit: PA