For 8 months now, Getafe (Madrid, Spain) has been home to a very peculiar facility. It is the loading and unloading hangar of the Beluga and Beluga XL, the Airbus A300-600ST Super Transporter which impresses everyone who lays eyes on it. Because of its shape, because of its size and because of its inevitably singular and unique cargo door, which opens upwards. But that door has a problem: it cannot remain open if the wind exceeds 30 knots, as that could damage the hinges and the system which opens and closes it. And though we don’t experience winds like that every day, they do occur from time to time, thereby delaying its operational capacity.

Therefore, in the facilities to which the Beluga flies, which act as links between the different production centres of the European company around the world, Airbus has been incorporating hangars where the crew introduces the nose of the aircraft; in that way, safe from winds and other meteorological phenomena, the loading and unloading of the aircraft can be carried out in complete safety and without delays.

The metal structure of that facility, measuring some 7,200 square metres with two complete floors and one at the height of the main deck of the aircraft with a maximum height of 26 metres, was made by DETRAME. The manufacture, supply and assembly of the hangar, to be precise. The structure, entirely bolted together, is configured by means of hot-laminated profiles, reinforced beams and lattices. One of the singularities of Detrame’s execution is that the fireproof paint treatment which makes it possible to achieve fire stability of 60 minutes was applied entirely in the workshops in Cabañas del Sil.

The components to be loaded are stored in the hangar, instead of in the open air as up to now. The design of the system of mobile platforms for access to the aircraft, and of the hangar itself, were undertaken in such a way that they can be used for both the current Belugas, derivatives of the A300, and the future Beluga XLs which are being constructed based on A330 aircraft.

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