Tug (airport vehicle)

( Or also called " Pusher " ) An aircraft tractor is a vehicle, the aircraft drag, push ( push ) or can position on taxiways. It is used for movement of aircraft on the runway and hangars. The also popular term Tug comes from the English name for Tug Boat.

Aircraft tractors come in all areas of aviation in very different designs. These products range from hand-held four -kW mini tractors for sport airplanes up to 70 ton tractors to move large passenger aircraft. Among the better-known manufacturers include Goldhofer and FMC Technologies.

The process of resetting the aircraft before take-off, with the help of an aircraft tractor is called pushback. During pushback, the pilot can start the engines, which is monitored by the revolving mechanics, ramp agent or from the walk-out assistant.

Towing with tow bar

In this form a rod is mounted between the tractor and the aircraft nose wheel gear. This tow bar transmits all forces and is equipped with a shear pin to avoid in case of overload damage to the aircraft. This process is in the area of general aviation, the usual method of moving planes that are too heavy to move manually using a hand tow bar can. In this method, a so-called " brakeman " ( a mechanic or pilot ) should always be present in the cockpit, which can bring the aircraft with its own brakes to a halt in case of breakage of the tow bar.

Towing without tow bar

Here is constructed for the purpose of tugs the tricycle landing gear of the aircraft and includes raised. The tricycle landing gear is so taken " piggyback ". This method simplifies the towing maneuvers significantly since the aircraft can not be lost by breaking tow bar, which makes the brakeman superfluous. In addition, here the maneuvering of the aircraft is considerably simplified, since the missing tow bar removes a rotatable connection. The tractor can also be constructed much more easily because the nose wheel is transferred to him, and he thereby gains additional traction. Other advantages of this method are a higher towing speed ( up to 30 km / h). Fall off the tow bar logistics at the airport and their maintenance for the operator of such rod-less aircraft tractor.

There are also aircraft tractor that focus on one of the wheels of the main landing gear. Such a device includes the main wheel with rollers and pushes or pulls so the plane. The tractor is controlled by a person who is in voice communication with the pilot. The pilot controls at the direction of the nose wheel and sets and releases the parking brake. Example is the Power push the company Schopf.

Military aircraft tractor

By and large, correspond military aircraft tractor for combat aircraft and military helicopters for their civilian counterparts, but there are some differences. Military aircraft tractors are very compact and have to be an extremely small turning circle work on small areas (eg, aircraft carriers ) or in confined spaces (aircraft caverns or armored aircraft shelters ). In some aircraft tractors ( such as the aircraft tractor Mowag - AEG), the driver can disengage the aircraft from the towing hook while driving. This was applied to the Mirage and Mirage 3S 3RS the Swiss Air Force in alarm inserts from the aircraft caverns often. Military aircraft tractors, which are used in caverns and aircraft shelters are always operated with diesel engines ( no spark as in gasoline engines due to the risk of explosion of kerosene vapors ). For the sake of the health of military personnel in caverns such aircraft tugs are equipped with switchable exhaust particulate filters. Aircraft tugs are equipped with a special floor lighting headlights for precise maneuvering in the caverns, pilot tunnels and shelters - with the light cone of this headlamp the driver of the respective floor marking of the corresponding aircraft type must follow in order to drive quickly and safely in confined spaces can. Military aircraft tractor ( such as the Mowag Bucher aircraft tractors ) are also used for the power supply of small jets used without APU as well as tractors for about 1-4 engine start units or for the ad hoc transport of mechanics and tools ( eg spare wheels and jack with a flat tire of landed aircraft ).