Happy new Eagle owners pictured above.
Holiday greetings from the crew at AERO Specialties! We would like to wish everyone, on all continents, from every religion and culture happy holidays and cheers to a prosperous new year (according to the Gregorian calendar). Tiptoeing around ethnocentricity, our best thoughts go out to all around the world!
We are thankful for the new customers we have gained and the returning customers who continued to support us in 2011. We strive to manufacture and provide only the highest quality aircraft ground support equipment. We recognize that it is our customers who need our equipment; and we work hard to offer reliable equipment with the best support and service available in the industry.
2011 was an excellent year for AERO. We introduced some new products, all of which have been extremely well-received. The JetGo diesel-electric hybrid ground power unit is now available globally in 4 different configurations. The JetGo’s ease of operation and durability have proven reliable at servicing aircraft in remote locations and under the most extreme circumstances. Our upgraded B-4 and B-5 aircraft maintenance stands are now in full production and in high demand. Eagle Tugs continue to be the sought-after aircraft tractor in busienss aviation circles and TLD GPUs keep flying out the door. No complaints on our end…
The fabricators, machinists, welders, mechanics and painters that manufacture our lavatory, potable water, nitrogen and oxygen service carts as well as aircraft towbars and heads are hard at work trying to keep product in-stock and on our shelves. Production capacity is increasing. We have hired several new employees over the course of the past year to meet the increased demand for our GSE. Our manufacturing facility is in full tilt, producing GSE that will be delivered to every corner of our planet.
The prospects for 2012 are looking positive and efforts are underway to introduce more products to help aviation ground handling operations on your ramp. Our commitment to customer service and product quality has never been higher as we move forward.
Thank you and happy holidays from everyone at AERO!
Děkuji, 謝謝, salamat, merci, תודה, Շնորհակալություն, ačiū, शुक्रिया, terima kasih, gracias, أشكرك, cảm ơn, Спасибо, Takk.
As mentioned in a previous post, I have embarked on a grand road trip that will showcase our latest aircraft GSE product offerings to current and new customers on the East Coast of the U.S. Here is an abbreviated version of a GSE operation that has been my dream for years.
It has been quite a journey thus far…leaving Boise, ID, on my way to the Atlantic seaboard, I stopped off in Taylor, MI to hang out with the team at Eagle Tugs, get some necessary hands-on training and observe the high-quality manufacturing processes that are required to build the advanced electrical systems on Eagle’s line of electric aircraft pushback tugs and aircraft tow tractors. Big thanks to Jace Morgan and Justin Akinleye for their awesome hospitality. They build some amazing equipment.
Heading East from Taylor, I barely left the Eagle Tugs facility in my RV before the intercooler on the diesel engine turbocharger decided to stop working. I had almost made it to Ohio without any complications, my lead foot may have been a contributing factor, but don’t tell the boss…Anyways, I ended up spending a week in Detroit and good chunk of cash getting my motorized pony on the road again.
Fast forward, I arrived at my first planned airport of the GSE Product Showcase Tour, Westchester County Airport in White Plains, NY. I enjoyed meeting and spending time with Dan, Walter and the crew at Panorama Flight Services. They gave nothing but positive feedback on the JetGo Ground Power Units (GPUs). After a successful initiation of the GSE Showcase Tour, I headed down the ramp to visit the folks at Million Air who were excited to operate some new GSE.
Ted, Mike and Bill at Million Air were exceptionally accommodating and helped move my ‘train’ of vehicles and equipment into place with their trusty Gators and Bobcats. Million Air was gracious enough to provide a complimentary valet service for the RV and allowed me to camp out in their car park (yes, I am Australian). These guys put the ramp equipment through the ringer and it still came out shinning. It was great to see AERO’s equipment tested by some of the best in the business and result in nothing but smiles. Thanks Million Air for your warm reception; it was my pleasure.
The initial stop on the GSE Product Showcase Tour was a success all-in-all. I’m still working out some kinks in the operation, but we’ll soon have this production dialed in. It was topped off by a stop at the local watering hole, the Cobblestone. There is nothing like some chicken parmesan to close several days of GSE-filled excitement.
This first portion of my journey has certainly been a learning experience. I’ll soon be on my way to Teterboro Airport in Northern Jersey. I can’t wait to see what is in store for me there. I’m looking forward to keeping updated on my whereabouts. Check back soon. Cheers from White Plains.
The truth about snow tires
Snow tires will not increase your traction on anything but un-compacted snow. With snow tires, you will experience a 15 percent to 20 percent loss in traction on dry pavement. You will also experience a loss of traction on ice because the surface area of the snow tire is approximately 20 percent smaller than a standard tire. Snow tires excel only in un-compacted snow.
Instead of purchasing expensive snow tires that will offer inferior performance in most conditions, you might consider having your existing tires “siped.” The siping process puts tiny cuts across the tread increasing the tire’s gripping edges while not reducing the footprint. Additionally, siped tires offer greater traction on slippery hangar floors and allow for a longer tire lifespan.
Traction tips for aircraft pushbacks: 2-wheel drive and All Wheel Drive (AWD) tractors:
- Sipe tires.
- Reduce air pressure in pneumatic tires from 60 PSI to as low as 25 PSI. NOTE: Restore air pressure to 60 PSI as soon as weather emergency ends.
- When pushing with AWD tractors, make sure the towbar is level or slightly downhill toward the tractor.
- When pushing with 2-wheel drive (rear drive) tractors, towbar should be level or slightly downhill toward the aircraft.
- When pushing aircraft on ice or icy snow with AWD, a wheel may lose traction (wheel spin). To stop wheel spin, apply the brake gradually with left foot until wheel spin stops and holds. While continuing the pushback, coordinate the left foot brake pressure and the right foot accelerator to maintain a smooth pushback.
- On ice or snow, use chains or cables. NOTE: If the use of chains is prohibited, traction cables serve the same function as chains, but are much easier to mount and cause only mild abrasion to surfaces.
- Keep fuel tank full.
- Apply a light braking action at the start of the pushback to lock up the front end.
- Don’t “jump or jerk” the unit at the start of the push. Gently increase the RPM until breakaway.
Let me first begin by stating that I am no mathematician or physicist, in fact I am far from either…
However, I do receive many inquiries from customers who have a difficult time selecting the proper aircraft tug for their exact application. So for my first several posts I want to focus specifically on aircraft pushback tractors (and will provide more GSE info in the future).
Correctly matching your tug’s drawbar pull rating (DBP) to the aircraft’s maximum take-off weight (MTOW) will reduce pushback and towing incidents. The following information will serve as a good guide in providing the proper towing equipment for your ramp operations as it is a common subject in the aircraft handling world.
The International Air Transportation Association (IATA) in a Toronto meeting summary memorandum titled “Push back communications” stated that 87% of ramp accidents occur during aircraft push back. 82% of those accidents involve the nose gear.
The conclusions were:
- Better training of the pushback procedures to pushback personnel are required.
- Improved communications with the cockpit by the pushback tractor operator are required.
- Proper pushback tractor and towbar capacity for the size of aircraft being moved will result in elimination of towbar and nose gear damage.
IATA Airport Handling Ground Support Equipment Specification AHM 955: “Functional Specification for an Aircraft Tractor.”
Paragraph 1.4 states ”There shall be four categories of tractors defined in accordance with the maximum aircraft weight.”
- Category 1 – aircraft less than 50,000 kg. (110,000 lb.)
- Category 2 – aircraft less than 150,000 kg. (330,690 lb.)
- Category 3 – aircraft less than 260,000 kg. (573,196 lb.)
- Category 4 – aircraft more than 260,000 kg. (573,195 lb.)
Paragraph 3.7 states “The minimum tractor weight for each class as defined in paragraph 1.4 shall be”:
- Category 1 – 4,000 kg. (8,800 lb.)
- Category 2 – 12,000 kg. (26,455 lb.)
- Category 3 – 18,000 kg. (39,683 lb.)
- Category 4 – 40,000 kg. (88,184 lb.)
Category 2, 3 or 4 tractors, generating 300% to 1000% greater DBP when pushing Category 1 aircraft can greatly increase pushback issues caused by excessive power. Aircraft pushback incidents therefore increase because the towbar and nose gear are not rated to absorb the excessive power of these larger tugs.
The Category 1 tractor has pushback power protection limits as follows:
- Tractor’s drive wheel(s) will slip and lose traction when the Category 1 DBP traction weight (8,800 lb.) is exceeded.
- The torque converter will stall at 8,000 lb. DBP to protect the towbar and/or aircraft nose gear.
*These protections are not available when using Category 2, 3 or 4 tractors to push Category 1 aircraft.
Basically stated, using the correct tug for the weight of the aircraft you are moving is essential; as you may find yourself purchasing an aircraft nose gear that far exceeds the cost of a new tractor…
AERO Specialties is dedicated to providing equipment to safely handle your GSE requirements. To make things simpler we have compiled a list of the proper pushbacks for the majority of the aircraft in operation around the world. Don’t hesitate to ask if you require verification or advice.
Your comments are invited and greatly appreciated!