I know a lot of business-aircraft owners don’t want strangers – including maintenance people – on their aircraft, if they don’t have to. This is in part for obvious security reasons, but also because maintenance people may not be as careful with increasingly expensive interiors. An oil stain on a rug or a slight tear in a leather seat can mean very big bucks in repairs for some of the more luxurious corporate interiors.
But towing aircraft for long distances – I recently saw one towed at least a quarter of a mile to a remote parking area – with no one in the cockpit to apply brakes if needed presents its own safety concerns. Usually there’s someone walking along next to the towed aircraft with chocks to put in front of the tires in case the aircraft needs to be stopped without the tractor. This can happen if the tow bar fails – which does happen on occasion.
My concerns are two-fold:
- The person inserting the chocks could be injured. The act of putting the chocks in place, especially when done in a hurry, could itself cause injury. If the chocks weren’t put in properly, they could be thrown like a tire throwing a rock.
- My other concern is that this method may not be as successful at stopping the aircraft and result in unnecessary and expensive ground damage.
I would be interested in hearing whether your corporate aircraft are towed like this, and what your experiences are both in terms of worker injury and aircraft ground rash.