While many counties around the country were battening the hatches during today’s gale force winds, an intrepid pilot was taking to the skies at Shannon Airport. The gale provided perfect conditions for a rare sighting of the Airbus Beluga XL which travelled especially from Toulouse in France to Shannon Airport to undertake cross wind training in the skies above the airport.
The plane, which has aptly earned its name as it is shaped and painted to look like a Beluga whale, took to the skies at 11.00am for a two-hour cross wind training session before returning to France.
Said Niall Maloney, Airport Operations and Commercial Director, Shannon Airport: “Safety management plays a significant role in the aviation industry and in this regard we have always made our runway available for specific crew or aircraft performance training exercises. Today’s bad weather created a great opportunity to get real flight experience in windy conditions. It isn’t the first time that Shannon has facilitated such training, in fact the majority of all new aircraft models since the 1970’s have used Shannon at some time specifically for cross wind component training. It is true what they say every cloud, or in this case gale, has a silver lining.”