The first BelugaXL is one step closer to its first flight. The airframe has passed the Ground Vibration Test (GVT), a requirement for certification of the aircraft that paves the way towards its maiden flight in summer 2018.
The objective of this test is to measure the dynamic behaviour of the aircraft and confirm theoretical models of various flight conditions, such as manoeuvring, flying in gusty conditions and landing. The test data also helps clear the aircraft’s flight envelope.
The GVT of the BelugaXL was performed over eight testing days using several hundreds of external accelerometers while the aircraft was stimulated by external shakers or seismic exciters.
The BelugaXL was launched in November 2014 to address the transport and ramp-up capacity requirements for Airbus beyond 2019. The new oversize air transporters are based on the A330-200 Freighter, with a large re-use of existing components and equipment. Airbus says the first of five BelugaXLs will fly this summer 2018 and enter service in 2019.