9 Tips on How to Properly Use an Aircraft Tug

Aircraft tugs are essential airport equipment. This maxim goes not just for the large-scale international ones that receive tons of traffic each day. It also applies to small airports that only greet private planes, small craft, and the like. The tugs are not as heavy-duty as those used in bigger airports, but they are useful nonetheless.

Anyone who works at a small airport should learn how to properly use an aircraft tug. It is not as simple as pushing a button and letting it go. Thankfully, it is not that difficult to operate, either — especially with professional advice like the tips below.

Move the Largest Planes First

Even from the outset of the tugging process, you should keep the end in mind. Hangars only have so much space, and managers need to maximize it as much as possible. In our experience, it is easier to find space for small aircraft among larger ones than the other way around.

If you have more than one plane that needs towing, tug them in order of size. Start with the biggest ones, then try to “stack” smaller ones in the remaining spaces. This tip may be especially helpful for airports that do not have much hangar space to spare.

Beware of Weight Limits

The aircraft tugs used at international airports are heavy-duty hulks, capable of hauling at-capacity cargo planes and passenger-packed jumbo jets. Small airports do not ordinarily need such machines if their traffic consists mostly of lighter aircraft. Even so, the tugs they get should be strong enough to handle them.

Before you purchase any equipment, take a good hard look at the maximum weight it can handle. Then, take into account the weight of the heftiest planes that usually stop at your airport. We do not just mean their base weight, either, but the total weight when factoring in pilots, passengers, and cargo as applicable. That way, you can make an informed decision that will not leave anyone embarrassed or flustered.

Check the Aircraft’s Brakes

The first rule of flight is to never take any aircraft part or system’s operational status for granted. This rule applies even on the ground. Do not start towing a plane until you can confirm that the brakes are working properly. Otherwise, it could create chaos on the runway.

When your crew prepares to tug a craft, they should also be prepared to stop it themselves and fix the system. If the brakes are kaput, tie some chocks to halt the craft and only tug it to an isolated area where repairs can be done. After that, you are clear to start tugging in earnest.

Double-Check That Everything’s Attached

Actually, there is at least one more item on your list to check off before you are clear to start. See, some aircraft tugs come with towbars that latch onto the nose wheel. Others connect to it with two low-level arms. Either way, they must be firmly secured before they can start moving the plane.

You must be absolutely certain that your tug is properly connected to the plane. We strongly advise checking it one more time. It does not matter if you already believe that everything is secure. Consider this one instance in which seeing is believing.

Clear a Path

Runways can be busy, with plenty of planes taking off, touching down, or taxiing around. Even in slower moments, the day’s toil may result in people and equipment littering the area. You would hate to damage your aircraft tug, and especially the plane, by running into a piece of debris or hitting something else.

Just as pilots map out a flight path, airport personnel should determine the best route from runway to hangar. Then, they should scout the route for machines, cargo, boxes, other personnel, and other potential obstacles. Do not just look at ground level, either: consider if anything around can clip the wings. Move things around as needed or, barring that, consider other paths with less resistance.

Get Back-Up from a Team

Any true expert on how to properly use an aircraft tug should know, above all else, that they cannot do it alone. We do not just mean having the cooperation of the pilot in the cockpit. We mean having other personnel around to walk alongside the machines and scope out obstacles that may damage them.

We advise having a couple of people next to or even on the plane’s wings to see if any obstacles are coming. Another person should also walk by the tail. They can tell you about damage risks as you make a turn. Everyone on the team should use a means of clear communication, so everyone stays on the same page.

Watch Out for Slopes

When the ground is flat and level, using an aircraft tug is pretty straightforward. If your airport’s terrain is uneven, though, you may run into trouble. The smallest dips can increase the speed of the tug and the craft, especially if the operator is caught off-guard. The smallest hills add pressure and weight to the craft, making the tug’s job a bit more difficult.

Even if you believe that your airport is as flat as a table, you should still check every inch of the runway. One way to do it is by rolling marbles and other small spheres around. You can even use a skateboard to get a more intimate feel for the terrain. Observe whether the balls or wheels gain or lose speed. Keep that information in mind for the future.

Learn How to Properly Use an Aircraft Tug with High-Quality Equipment

If you want to know how to properly use an aircraft tug , the best course would be to use proper equipment. Here at Powertow, we manufacture a variety of exceptional machines designed for small airports. Everything we sell here is built to be user-friendly, even for beginners. Once you start training yourself and your crew with Powertow tugs, your airport’s operations will be better than ever before. Browse our selection and place an order today.

Aircraft tugs are essential airport equipment. This maxim goes not just for the large-scale international ones that receive tons of traffic each day. It also applies to small airports that only greet private planes, small craft, and the like. The tugs are not as heavy-duty as those used in bigger airports, but they are useful nonetheless.

Anyone who works at a small airport should learn how to properly use an aircraft tug. It is not as simple as pushing a button and letting it go. Thankfully, it is not that difficult to operate, either — especially with professional advice like the tips below.

Move the Largest Planes First

Even from the outset of the tugging process, you should keep the end in mind. Hangars only have so much space, and managers need to maximize it as much as possible. In our experience, it is easier to find space for small aircraft among larger ones than the other way around.

If you have more than one plane that needs towing, tug them in order of size. Start with the biggest ones, then try to “stack” smaller ones in the remaining spaces. This tip may be especially helpful for airports that do not have much hangar space to spare.

Beware of Weight Limits

The aircraft tugs used at international airports are heavy-duty hulks, capable of hauling at-capacity cargo planes and passenger-packed jumbo jets. Small airports do not ordinarily need such machines if their traffic consists mostly of lighter aircraft. Even so, the tugs they get should be strong enough to handle them.

Before you purchase any equipment, take a good hard look at the maximum weight it can handle. Then, take into account the weight of the heftiest planes that usually stop at your airport. We do not just mean their base weight, either, but the total weight when factoring in pilots, passengers, and cargo as applicable. That way, you can make an informed decision that will not leave anyone embarrassed or flustered.

Check the Aircraft’s Brakes

The first rule of flight is to never take any aircraft part or system’s operational status for granted. This rule applies even on the ground. Do not start towing a plane until you can confirm that the brakes are working properly. Otherwise, it could create chaos on the runway.

When your crew prepares to tug a craft, they should also be prepared to stop it themselves and fix the system. If the brakes are kaput, tie some chocks to halt the craft and only tug it to an isolated area where repairs can be done. After that, you are clear to start tugging in earnest.

Double-Check That Everything’s Attached

Actually, there is at least one more item on your list to check off before you are clear to start. See, some aircraft tugs come with towbars that latch onto the nose wheel. Others connect to it with two low-level arms. Either way, they must be firmly secured before they can start moving the plane.

You must be absolutely certain that your tug is properly connected to the plane. We strongly advise checking it one more time. It does not matter if you already believe that everything is secure. Consider this one instance in which seeing is believing.

Clear a Path

Runways can be busy, with plenty of planes taking off, touching down, or taxiing around. Even in slower moments, the day’s toil may result in people and equipment littering the area. You would hate to damage your aircraft tug, and especially the plane, by running into a piece of debris or hitting something else.

Just as pilots map out a flight path, airport personnel should determine the best route from runway to hangar. Then, they should scout the route for machines, cargo, boxes, other personnel, and other potential obstacles. Do not just look at ground level, either: consider if anything around can clip the wings. Move things around as needed or, barring that, consider other paths with less resistance.

Get Back-Up from a Team

Any true expert on how to properly use an aircraft tug should know, above all else, that they cannot do it alone. We do not just mean having the cooperation of the pilot in the cockpit. We mean having other personnel around to walk alongside the machines and scope out obstacles that may damage them.

We advise having a couple of people next to or even on the plane’s wings to see if any obstacles are coming. Another person should also walk by the tail. They can tell you about damage risks as you make a turn. Everyone on the team should use a means of clear communication, so everyone stays on the same page.

Watch Out for Slopes

When the ground is flat and level, using an aircraft tug is pretty straightforward. If your airport’s terrain is uneven, though, you may run into trouble. The smallest dips can increase the speed of the tug and the craft, especially if the operator is caught off-guard. The smallest hills add pressure and weight to the craft, making the tug’s job a bit more difficult.

Even if you believe that your airport is as flat as a table, you should still check every inch of the runway. One way to do it is by rolling marbles and other small spheres around. You can even use a skateboard to get a more intimate feel for the terrain. Observe whether the balls or wheels gain or lose speed. Keep that information in mind for the future.

Learn How to Properly Use an Aircraft Tug with High-Quality Equipment

If you want to know how to properly use an aircraft tug , the best course would be to use proper equipment. Here at Powertow, we manufacture a variety of exceptional machines designed for small airports. Everything we sell here is built to be user-friendly, even for beginners. Once you start training yourself and your crew with Powertow tugs, your airport’s operations will be better than ever before. Browse our selection and place an order today.

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