I saw this plane yesterday:

What is this plane?

What is this plane? And what is the reason for it's odd-looking nose?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Related: How do the Airbus Beluga's wing/control surfaces deal with its high center of gravity? $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Oct 3, 2015 at 11:40
  • $\begingroup$ That's any easy one. Its to carry large amounts of cargo. Air Beluga generally carries parts of aircraft around the world look at aeroalias answer to see what I mean when it carries aircraft parts. $\endgroup$
    – Ethan
    Oct 3, 2015 at 14:11
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    $\begingroup$ @Ethan Specifically, large volume but relatively low-weight cargo. There's no airline called "Air Beluga": the model of plane is called the Beluga and they're owned by Airbus. Also, they don't usually fly "around the world" but between a few Airbus factories within Europe. They do occasionally get hired out to other companies to carry other cargoes to other places but that's not their main use. $\endgroup$ Oct 3, 2015 at 14:46
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    $\begingroup$ @Ethan Also, there's no need to post a comment saying "Look at so-and-so's answer" -- especially when it's the only answer! People who are looking at the question are going to look at the answers anyway, if they're interested, and you can encourage them to read the best one first by upvoting it. $\endgroup$ Oct 3, 2015 at 14:47

1 Answer 1


It is the Airbus A300-600ST (Super Transporter) Beluga, which is a version of the A300 wide-body airliner modified to carry aircraft parts and oversized cargo.

Airbus Beluga

Source: berlin-aviation-forum.com

The nose is shaped like that as the upper portion is basically a cargo hold and is used to transport oversize cargo, especially aircraft parts.

Airbus Beluga

"F-GSTB - 2 Airbus A.300B4-608ST Beluga Airbus (8634655670)" by aeroprints.com. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

The cockpit was lowered below the cargo deck so that the cargo area could be loaded without having to disconnect any of the vital electric and hydraulic lines running to the rest of the plane. However the A300’s lower fuselage, wings and landing gears were retained.

The following image shows the changes that were made in the nose section from A300 to the Beluga.

Nose change

Source: allaboutguppys.com

  • 5
    $\begingroup$ First to say "planeception" wins a prize. Yay, it's me! What do I win? $\endgroup$ Oct 3, 2015 at 14:48
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ @DavidRicherby You win a "yo dawg!" ;) $\endgroup$
    – Michael
    Oct 3, 2015 at 16:10
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    $\begingroup$ @Michael: This one?. $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Oct 3, 2015 at 18:17
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Also useful for carrying elephants. $\endgroup$
    – Dronz
    Oct 4, 2015 at 5:44
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    $\begingroup$ But, where do you carry unassembled Beluga parts? $\endgroup$ Oct 4, 2015 at 14:56

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