For its efficiency, versatility and safety features, the vehicle has been proclaimed a new technological paradigm. “It is a revolutionary piece of equipment,” Yuhasz says.
History in the making
The technology was several years in the making, having been derailed by a post-9/11 aviation industry.
It was developed and manufactured by HTS, a company that has specialized in fluid-powered additive injection systems.
Hammonds first developed and rolled the technology into a prototype in 2001, shortly before 9/11. In the aftermath, the aviation industry was not looking to buy new equipment for some time. “Airlines, FedEx, US Airways, Delta, were all on a panel and basically said, ‘Look guys, we appreciate your coming out to support us, but we won’t be buying equipment for at least another four to five years,’” Bob Dujon of Aerosafe says.
With an industry distracted and new equipment temporarily displaced, Hammonds decided to shelve the prospective aviation technology. In that time he developed a security vehicle and a snow plow. It was not until four years ago, when GSE was again being bought, that he was urged to fully develop the aviation prototype.
In 2005 two ODVs were rolled out onto the Robins Air Force Base, where the machines were implemented with traditional tugs. In 2006 the AFB ordered seven more.
The base has considered replacing the ODV with its traditional tugs in the coming years. “I think we are going to replace it,” Markham says. “It’s a lot more maneuverability … it will tug just as much as any tug we have out there. Robins is the only AFB it’s on right now. Each AFB operates independently, but they are hoping the others will follow their lead.”
Coming Full Circle
Aerosafe has kept a strong focus on the military sector of the aviation industry. With a US commercial market slow to react to new concepts, Aerosafe has hoped to infiltrate additional military branches, with testing to conclude on aircraft carriers.
Though it has taken some time for the ODV to make its way into the aviation industry, Hammonds has remained confident in its success. “As with any completely new concept, there is some resistance,” he says. “It’s so totally different than anything out there. If there is anything negative about the ODV, it’s that it seems too good to be true.”
Valued at $40,000-plus, ODV tractor is to be awarded in 2008.
A drawing will be held on Dec. 1, 2008, with winner notification occurring on Dec. 15th.
Hammonds awarded the $30,000-plus ODV tractor during Aviation Industry Expo.
Western Aircraft of Boise, Idaho, plans to "turn the ODV loose" in its storage hangar.