Airbus Beluga XL 'whale' plane spotted flying over Cornwall

Credit: Credit: Cornish Blue

A super-transporter cargo plane was spotted flying over Cornwall today (Monday 14 December).The Airbus BelugaXL was seen over the mid-Cornwall area, including St Austell, in a training flight facilitated by Cornwall Airport Newquay.Lots of people were left amazed by the aircraft, which is adorned with beluga whale-inspired eyes and an ear-to-ear grin.A spokesperson for Cornwall Airport Newquay said: "We’re facilitating some crew training for that aircraft today."The aircraft is a super-transporter cargo plane which is 63 metres in length and has a wingspan of 60 metres, with a maximum takeoff weight of 227,000 kg (227 tonnes).

By 2023, Airbus will have six of them. The first to enter service started operating in January this year.“The BelugaXL has the largest cargo bay cross-section of all existing cargo aircraft,” Airbus wrote."While an A300-600ST can transport one A350 wing, the new freighter has space for two."The decision to build the Beluga XL was taken in November 2014 to address the transport and ramp-up capacity requirements for Airbus. They will gradually replace the BelugaST, which will be phased out from 2021.