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.