Aircraft Ground Support and Towing

Posted on August 27, 2019 Jessica Jones

When your plane arrives at its destination and slowly moves towards the terminal, you may have noticed several different pieces of equipment waiting to service the plane. Tow tractors, cranes, dollies, and ground support personnel busying about, waiting to perform crucial maintenance on the plane you just exited. This ground support is the lifeline for successful flights.

Aircraft ground support equipment refers to the various tools and devices used to service aircrafts that aren’t in flight. This process requires a fleet of operators to adhere to precise handling rules so that the machinery they use works as intended. There are different variations of non-powered equipment such as chocks, dollies,  tripod jacks, and rollers. There are also different types of powered equipment as well, such as refuelers, tugs and tractors, ground power units, container loaders, and buses.
The equipment required to service aircraft systems include power generators, cabin pressure test units, fluid servicing units, munitions loading system, and electrical testers. All of which are designed to be self-propelled, trailer mounted, or towed for ease of access and maneuverability. Ground support equipment can define the success of an entire aviation establishment, whether it be an airport or military air base. The complete servicing process must coincide firmly within industry standards while operating at a minimum life-cycle cost.
Not everything you find at a commercial airport will be found at a military airfield, which is simply due to military aircraft being equipped with items which have no translatable purpose or use in the civilian market. The most common type of ground service equipment found in a military airfield is a hydraulic loader, used to load pieces of ordnance (bullets, bombs, missiles). Dedicated military service equipment must be utterly reliable and dependable, simple to use, and quick to learn. Ground service equipment plays an integral role in the maintenance, specialized technical support, operational safety, and towing of aircraft.


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