I’ve long been fascinated by aircraft that carry other aircraft – or, more specifically, big parts of other aircraft – inside themselves.
Airbus operates several Beluga variants of its first design, the A300. They’ll soon be replaced by the Beluga XL, a variant of the more modern A330. Here’s a Beluga loading part of the fuselage of a smaller Airbus, then taking off to ferry it to another factory, where it’ll be assembled with other modules into a complete aircraft.
Boeing’s version is the DreamLifter, a heavily modified 747-400. A fleet of them carry aircraft modules from Japan and other nations to Seattle, where they’re assembled into complete planes. Here’s a comparison between Airbus’ and Boeing’s superlifters.
And here’s a series of three DreamLifter takeoffs from Everett, Washington.
Here’s what it’s like to unload a DreamLifter.
And finally, here’s a short history of “supersized” aircraft, of which the DreamLifter and Beluga are the most recent examples.
Interesting planes, and fun to watch.