Three companies are competing to offer airlines a fuel-saving way to have their aircraft taxi with engines shut down.
After a four-year absence from its product line, Lektro will be restoring its smallest battery-powered aircraft tug, the AP8350, to its lineup next month. According to the Oregon-based company, the tug–which can handle aircraft weighing up to 10,000 pounds–has been revived to meet the needs of customers operating very light jets. The tug couples a traction motor directly to a helical-gear Dana differential and has a universal nose-gear lifting cradle. An on-board GPU is optional.
A runway overrun protection system (ROPS) option will be available from next year, tackling what as become the primary air transportation safety issue. ROPS is an avionics solution that compares aircraft energy state and landing performance against the runway end throughout the short final approach to the aircraft’s eventual stop. It issues warnings to pilots on final approach, if the runway length from the projected touchdown spot is too short, aiding them in making the decision to go around.
Southwest Airlines says it will be the first major airline to widely use a wireless, ground-support communications system to improve safety and operational efficiency during pushback operations. The airline plans to deploy the Flightcom pushback system for commercial aviation at 425 gates at 73 airports in the U.S. by the first quarter of 2012.