We’ve been following a number of ventures that promise to do a push back without the pushback.
Although equipment makers, ranging from a joint venture between Honeywell and Safran and another one that joins L-3 and Crane as well as a stand-alone by WheelTug, may be using different methods all are working toward allowing aircraft to maneuver at the gate without ground support equipment.
The end result? Reduced ground time and lower fuel use. In this Bloomberg article, for example, United says it burns through $25,000 worth of jet fuel a minute.
“You could have tug-less airports,” said Ian Davies, chief of engineering and maintenance for discount airline EasyJet. “It might fundamentally change how we operate in airports.”
Our thanks to Matt Hill, technical sales manager at Douglas Equipment in the UK for not just the discussion link, but also a report on GSE accidents that says trouble with towing and pushback operations account for 9 percent of accidents. Hill worries that visibility issues, unfamiliar airports and the fact that crews are typically completely final checks while ground crews are conducting pushbacks might cause this percentage to increase.
Finally, on a whole different matter if you are heading to NBAA convention next week, please sure to stop by our booth, No. 3389.