Airbus said the BelugaXL has passed the ground vibration test (GVT), a requirement for certification of the aircraft that paves the way toward its maiden flight in summer 2018.

“The objective of this test is to measure the dynamic behavior of the aircraft and confirm theoretical models of various flight conditions, such as maneuvering, flying in gusty conditions and landing. The test data also helps clear the aircraft’s flight envelope,” Airbus said in a statement.

The GVT of the BelugaXL was performed by ONERA in collaboration with DLR over eight testing days using several hundreds of external accelerometers while the aircraft was stimulated by external shakers or seismic exciters, according to Airbus.

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. The first of five BelugaXLs will fly in summer 2018 and enter into service in 2019.

Linda Blachly linda.blachly@informa.com