Aircraft Tugs and Important Safety Tips for Operation

Within the realm of aviation, aircraft tugs and safety equipment are extremely beneficial for flight operations, allowing for aircraft of all sizes to be safely moved around a runway. While many aircraft have the ability of moving themselves backwards through the use of reverse thrust, this poses a number of logistical problems and dangers. With the power produced from thrust, gateways could be damaged, surrounding personnel harmed, and engines may be damaged from debris that is sucked in. Because of this, tugs are widely used for aircraft ranging from light personal planes to jumbo airliners.

Depending on the type of aircraft that is being transported, a number of tug types may be utilized. For light aircraft, human power is often enough to pull an aircraft by its landing gear or nose. Nevertheless, a short towbar may be attached to the nose wheel or tail wheel and operated by hand, preventing accidental damage. Larger aircraft are immensely heavier than personal planes, thus they require much more power to move. For these types of aircraft, towbars are attached to pushback tractors that move the aircraft from the nose landing gear.

Despite their usefulness, it is important to operate tugs and pushbacks while following safety procedures. According to the International Air Transport Association, almost 87% of ramp accidents occur during aircraft pushback operations. To avoid such dangers and mishaps, following steps for aircraft tug safety is important. One major component of enacting towbar safety is to have training on all equipment that workers will be using. With on the job training and testing before employees are allowed to operate machinery and equipment, the chance of accidents can be greatly mitigated.

Beyond creating well trained employees, having equipment inspected regularly can also help improve safety in operation. Before utilizing a towbar or pushback tractor, everything should be inspected and tested to detect malfunctions and hazards so that they can be timely solved before they can cause issues. Proper lighting is also important, as it can increase safe procedures and correct operation.

When beginning the pushback procedure, there are various safety steps that should be taken into account as one proceeds. First, the radio system should be tested and communication established so that both those in the cockpit and outside the aircraft can effectively speak to and direct each other during the pushback. Once communication is established, all aircraft equipment, such as doors and ladders, should be closed and stowed properly and the engine shut off. At this point, the towbar can be secured to the aircraft.

A trained worker should be positioned within the aircraft cockpit, observing the process to warn of any issues. In the case of an emergency, the aircraft cockpit observer may also use the brakes. Other workers can then be placed at both wingtips to ensure clearance alongside the observer as the aircraft is moved. The pushback process should never be rushed, and a steady pace allows for most arising issues to be avoided altogether. Quick and sharp turns are not recommended as well, as they can cause damage to equipment and the aircraft. Lastly, when the aircraft is parked, airplane brakes are set, and wheel chocks are placed, the towbar can be safely disconnected.

When it comes time to begin sourcing the aircraft tugs, landing gear, and towbarless tugs that you need for your next project or operation, Aerospace Aces has you covered with everything you are searching for. Aerospace Aces is owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, and we can help you find the aviation, electronic, and NSN parts that you are searching for, new or obsolete. As a premier supplier of parts for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries, we're always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7x365. ASAP Semiconductor is an FAA AC 00-56B accredited and ISO 9001:2015 certified enterprise. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at or call us at +1-857-323-5480.


January 10, 2024

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