Sheffield resident snaps rare picture of huge Airbus Beluga flying over city

It’s one of the most recognisable planes in the world and one lucky Sheffield resident managed to snap the Airbus Beluga as it flew over the city.

Wednesday, 3rd July 2019, 09:54 am
Updated Wednesday, 3rd July 2019, 09:54 am

Frank Fletcher spotted the super transporter flying over Sheffield on Tuesday, July 2, and it's safe to say it has it’s hard to miss.

The huge cargo freight aircraft, named after the whale it resembles, offers a unique way to transport oversized air cargo.

Airbus in the sky - Credit: Frank Fletcher

Also known as A300-600ST Super Transporter, the company’s five existing Belugas play a key role in keeping its production and assembly network operating at full capacity. 

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The plane has been modified to carry aircraft parts and oversized cargo and was first introduced in September 1995.

One of the planes was forced to circle over North Wales and Chester in June over safety fears.

The number two plane, which was flying from Toulouse to the Airbus factory in Broughton , was spotted flying in circles for at least half an hour.

Airbus confirmed to North Wales Live that there were no technical problems with the aircraft but said a crane nearby posed a risk.

A spokesman said: "A crane involved in construction work close to the aerodrome was asked to lower as a precaution. The crane had the required operating permit but safety is always our first priority. The aircraft landed safely at 9.10am."

It comes as the one of the most hotly anticipated planes, the Airbus Beluga XL, enters service later this year. 

While passengers won’t be able to travel in it, it will be a super-transporter cargo plane, designed by Airbus to fly its aircraft components between European production sites.

The plane, nicknamed the ‘whale in the sky’ completed a key round of testing at Hawarden Airport in Wales earlier this year.

It will have an extra 30 per cent capacity on the current Beluga planes they it is set to replace.

The new plane will be able to carry  two A350 XWB plane wings instead of one and there will be extra space in the ‘bubble section’. 

Airbus have also painted a whale’s mouth and eyes on the side of the nose in a nod to its whale-like shape.