Three companies are competing to offer airlines a fuel-saving way to have their aircraft taxi with engines shut down.
Although damage to a pair of Airbus aircraft on the ground at Hollywood/Fort Lauderdale Airport on December 31 was minimal, Spirit’s initial review of the incident did point out some ground-control problems. Spirit’s A320, taxiing to the gate after arrival, struck a parked US Airways A320. ATC never informed the Spirit crew about the obstacle, most likely because not even the controllers were aware of just how close the parked aircraft was to the active taxiway.
Pilots taxiing at Florida’s Fort Lauderdale International Airport (FLL) are being asked to pay special attention as they approach Runway 13/31, especially during construction season when the runway is active more often than usual. A new airport notice, FLL 2012-09-12, says runway incursions have resulted from pilot inattention. “Aircraft southbound on Taxiway ‘Q’ are failing to hold short of RWY 13/31 when required by ATC. Aircraft taxiing to RWY 9L via Taxiway ‘P’ and Taxiway ‘E’ are failing to turn left at Taxiway ‘E’ and enter RWY 13/31 instead.”
Efforts to reduce the thousands of gallons of jet fuel now being burned each year just to move aircraft to and from runways are very much in evidence at the 2012 Farnborough International airshow. No fewer than four new products vying for the attention of airline and airport managements, including efforts by Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI), L-3, Safran/Honeywell and WheelTug, and they each have taken a different approach.
European low-cost carrier Easyjet announced on the eve of the show that it will be the first airline to test the electric taxiing system that Safran and Honeywell are developing to save fuel (see page 58). With the first operational trials due to take place in 2013, Easyjet’s role will be to help establish whether the estimated savings can be realized. The system enables an aircraft to taxi without its engines, by using the auxiliary power unit to power electric motors in the main wheels.
Push-back tugs and taxiing aircraft with engines powered up may well, in a few years, be seen as remnants of the past. Two exhibitors here at the Singapore Airshow are studying electric motors that would drive the aircraft’s wheels on the ground.
Airline fuel savings of 4 percent and quieter, cleaner airports are predicted for an electrically powered “green” taxing system for airplanes being developed by Safran and Honeywell. The two companies signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Sunday to form a joint-venture company to develop the system.
Gulfstream IV, New York, N.Y., July 27, 2010–While the twinjet was taxiing to its parking area on the ramp at John F. Kennedy International Airport, the right wing struck a light pole near a blast fence, causing substantial damage. The pilot told authorities that he knew the wing tip was “close” to the fence but the marshaller, positioned in front of and to the left of the airplane, did not signal him to stop before impact.
Dassault Falcon 20C, Eagle, Colo., Jan. 8, 2010–The Board ruled that the aborted takeoff accident was caused by the flight crew's improper preflight inspection and failure to remove the main landing gear chock, resulting in damage to and subsequent failure of the main landing gear tire during the takeoff roll. The Mexican-registered twinjet was substantially damaged in the crash.
The Mexican-registered twinjet was substantially damaged when it departed the runway on takeoff from Eagle County Regional Airport en route to Chihuahua, Mexico. The airport manager told investigators that the jet’s left main landing gear tire “blew” during the departure roll, and the captain was unable to stop the airplane in the remaining distance.
- Page 1