Unusual Fly-by For Beluga


Airbus called it a “once-in-a-lifetime flight” on Friday, when the Patrouille de France teamed up for a flyby with a Beluga at an airshow above Toulouse. The Beluga, officially known as the A300-600ST Super Transporter, is one of the world’s largest cargo-carrying aircraft. It was developed in the 1990s to transport bulky airplane parts between assembly plants. Airbus has built only five of them, and operates them on a charter basis. The Patrouille de France, operated by the French air force, has been flying since 1931. The eight-ship team flies the Dassault-Brequet/Dornier Alpha Jet.

The Beluga has only rarely been seen in the U.S., but one made a visit to EAA AirVenture in 2003. The early Patrouille de France pilots flew Bleriot aircraft, and in the 1930s, the team flew airplanes tied together with ropes.