Posted by Powertow on 3/11/2021 to
The thought of needing runway towing safety tips, especially for small aircraft, doesn’t seem realistic. It should be pretty straight-forward as far as what you need to have to get the job done. However, every year mistakes are made during the towing of aircrafts that lead to delays and even some damages. To avoid these issues from delaying your day, you need to be aware of the proper safety guidelines. Also, consider the fact that there are going to be dozens of other aircraft trying to utilize the same tools or space as you, depending on the day. Some days it can feel like you have the entire airport to yourself and others will have it feel like you are swamped with other airport workers and aircraft.
Be Smart & Safe
It doesn’t matter what the task is, professionals, follow every safety protocol each and every time. The reason we may not notice it is because they do it so quickly now because they’ve gotten used to the routine. However, they will be the first to tell you that skipping over any of these steps is not advisable and while it may work this time, it may not on the next one which is why it’s best to learn the safety tips and follow them each time.
Inspections For Runway Towing
Before you move anything, you need to run your own inspections to make sure that everything is ready to be used and moved. Start with the aircraft tug you wish to use for this project. Smaller airports or hubs that take care of smaller airplanes will usually only have one or two options at the most. Whichever tug you plan on using, make sure that you have full functionality and that you can stop it whenever you need to.
Next, make sure that you check the airplane before hooking anything up. Make sure the engine is off and that nothing is open for mechanical maintenance or repairs. Also, be sure to inspect the plan for anything laying around on it like tools on the wings or anything that could fall off when you start moving it.
Please also remember to check the aircraft's brakes to make sure that they are completely functional. You do not want to begin moving an airplane of any size only to realize the brakes do not work.
Who is working with you right now or who is around the airplane? This is key with runway towing safety protocol. Sometimes a pilot or the owner of the plane may be around the aircraft and trying to do something while you move the aircraft. This is not smart and can lead to a mistake or injury. Make sure that the only people around you while you are working are supposed to be there and that everyone else is aware of what you are doing.
Slow & Steady
You are not in a race and it doesn’t matter if you have one plane that needs runway towing or ten. You are going to have to take this slow and focus on one craft at a time. Don’t worry about coworkers or clients being pushy, it’s not on them if you make a mistake that causes delays and damage or worse, gets someone injured.
Try to focus on a steady pace while in transport, not too fast but a good pace that you are comfortable with and still have plenty of control over the plane. Remember, you may have to stop at any second and that’s a lot of weight and momentum going against you.
Put Everything Where It Goes
Once you’ve parked the plane or it’s where it needs to be, make sure everything you used to transport the craft is put back where it needs to go. This isn’t just about consideration for the next person using the tools but it also will ensure that you know where everything is the next time you use it. This includes tugs and any tools that were used during the transport that belong in the hub or in the plane itself for further maintenance and repairs.
Again, when it comes to runway towing, it doesn’t matter what your position or title is. If you are the person who is responsible for transporting the plane then you need to focus on your task and no one else’s. Do not worry about coworkers and clients trying to get you to move faster, they are not responsible for issues if they come up while you are trying to do your job.
This is where a lot of mistakes are made in storage as well as getting an aircraft ready for use. Think of a busy weekend where everyone working wants to get done as quickly as possible and clients are anxious to get ready for takeoff. Yes, you want the task completed quickly but never at the risk of someone’s safety. You are responsible and in charge of this task so it’s up to you to make sure that it’s completely taken care of and that you are ready to move forward.
Every tool you use on the runway, whether it’s for repairs, towing, maintenance or getting the aircraft ready, has it’s own instructions for safe use. This includes tugs which is why you need to be familiar with how to properly use them and every safety step to ensure the project is done correctly. Each task comes with unique challenges and the only way to avoid most, if not all mistakes is to make sure you follow each step every time. Skipping oversteps to save time will only create an issue, maybe not today, but down the road and that’s something you’d prefer to avoid, especially when you are dealing with other people’s property. Follow these steps and be sure to contact us if you have any questions about our tugs and how to properly use them.