Having had a prototype of its “Echo” wheel tug at Oshkosh in July, Best Tugs (Booth 3656) had sold more than 20 halfway through NBAA 2018, having not even had time to produce a brochure or a press release. Founder and CEO Mark Patey told AIN that the Echo is designed for aircraft in the 18,000- to 21,000-pound range.
It has smaller tugs but the Echo, and the upgraded Sierra, which will be ready for NBAA 2019, are the most advanced, resembling Tesla cars in their sophistication—touchscreen controllers, smart software, and controls that protect aircraft. The display even shows the wheel angle, something drivers are traditionally completely unaware of until they try to move it.
In addition, it is in effect “drive by wire” and senses the load, not allowing overspeeding or overstressing of the nosegear—something that has caused no end of damage to aircraft and many insurance claims. Patey’s experience designing electric and hybrid vehicles for major vehicle manufacturers before starting Best Tugs three years ago has helped enormously, he said.