Mototok (Booth 483) sprung from the frustration of an 18-year-old student pilot in Germany, who could not imagine there wasn’t a better way to maneuver aircraft on the ground. Kersten Eckert put his “efficiency-minded” energy to work and established the Mototok company to designing and building electronic battery-operated tugs. The first Mototok model went into service in 2014, and today there are examples in service with international FBOs, MROs, aircraft manufacturers, airports, airlines, military, industrial companies, and individual and fleet operators.
Jetex was the first client in the Middle East, according to Marc Hemery, in charge of EMEA sales. Mototoks are also in service with Falcon Aviation Services at the Al Bateen business aviation airport in Abu Dhabi and also Dubai. “The need is growing,” said Hemery.
“It is the most versatile machine in the field,” he said. “One machine can work with aircraft from the size of a PC-12 up to a Boeing BBJ.” Depending on the power capability of the unit, it can handle aircraft up to 100 tonnes on level ground. Prices run from $61,000 to $79,000, depending on their power output.
The biggest assets of the Mototok, said Hemery, is its compactness, precision, and ease of operation. He said those attributes combine to optimize hangar space. Because of the Mototok’s small size and the fact that it doesn’t project beyond the aircraft nose, it can maneuver an aircraft so precisely that hangars can accommodate an average equivalent of 40 percent more floor space. “If you calculate hangar rental costs, saving 40 percent, you could cover the cost of a Mototok in one year,” said Hemery.
The reason for the machine’s efficiency is its computer-centric operation. Onboard computers automatically control the nosewheel clamp pressure, govern the power required (the Mototok can operate for up to four days between charges), and regulate acceleration and deceleration to within one centimeter for precise aircraft placement. Optional features include oversteer and overtorque protection (to protect nose struts), visual and aural overspeed alarms, contour steering control, and tele-maintenance, with which the factory can monitor the condition of the Mototok and either recommend maintenance or even perform maintenance tasks via computer link.
The Mototok also records and stores performance data, such as speed and even accuracy of aircraft towing and placement, enabling FBOs and fleet operators to monitor the performance of their tug operators. This is “not so they can fire them,” said Hemery, “but so they can make safety and efficiency recommendations.” There is also a feature requiring every operator to swipe an identity card to help log operations.
The Mototok also serves as a ground power unit, with a plug-in for 14- or 28-volt power.