What Is Aircraft Ground Support Equipment and Why is it Important?

During various aircraft ground operations such as taxiing, cargo loading, refueling, and maintenance, a great number of aircraft ground support equipment is needed. While aircraft are advanced systems that provide us numerous benefits, their sheer size and delicacy require careful operations to ensure safety, prevent damage, and guarantee speedy processes. From aircraft towing to de-icing, GSE equipment and vehicles are utilized together to make ground operations smooth and efficient.

When an aircraft needs to be transported around a runway, such as when leaving a hanger or nearing an airport gate, GSE equipment is used for towing. Aircraft towing is often conducted by towbars and pushback tractors which are heavy duty-equipment that can accommodate up to 100,000 pounds of weight. As such, aircraft towing may be used for large airliners and military aircraft for storage, maintenance, repair, and standard flight operations. Such GSE equipment is also highly beneficial for instances in which an aircraft needs to be reversed, as many may not have the capability to do so or may waste fuel and potentially create hazards by doing so.
When an aircraft is readying itself for a flight, aircraft ground support equipment may be used to provide a variety of roles. For airliners that carry passengers and their cargo, baggage carts and tractors are used to transport belongings from the airport to the plane, as well as the other way around. With cargo wheel dollies and loaders, baggage and cargo can be quickly loaded and unloaded onto the plane with ease, ensuring quick turnaround times for speedy operations.
During the start-up phase of the aircraft, the plane may require external powering in order to save jet fuel, battery power, and general resources. With a Ground Power Unit, or GPU, an aircraft may be provided with sufficient energy to begin procedures while parked at a gate. GPUs often provide a power output of 400Hz AC or 28.5V DC for the aircraft, and they may even be used up to the point of take-off in certain instances. As such, GPUs are some of the most important pieces of GSE equipment, benefiting countless operations and aircraft.
When operating in colder conditions where ice may form on the body of the aircraft, it is crucial that there is equipment present to remove frozen liquids from surfaces. This is critical as ice can obstruct the pilot’s view as well as present major safety hazards if formed around important piping, vents, and equipment pieces. To remove ice, de-icer trucks coat aircraft with specialty mixtures that are designed to remove all frozen liquids, and the aircraft may also be provided fluids that prevent further buildup. De-icing comes in many forms, and airports and operators should always ensure that they have the needed resources to protect aircraft during winter months.
Beyond GSE equipment that benefit the aircraft itself and operations such as loading, there are also those that are for the passengers as well such as climate control equipment. With air conditioning and heating carts, aircraft may be supplied with treated air within the cabin, ensuring that passengers are comfortable during ground procedures. Although these pieces are often overlooked, they are extremely useful during cold winter months and hot, humid summer days.
With new, used, and obsolete aircraft ground support equipment in our robust part catalogues, JetParts360 is your sourcing solution for all of your aviation needs. As a trusted distributor of aircraft parts and other aerospace components, we provide customers access to a robust parts purchasing database where they can compare quotes for every aviation product that we carry. Get started with a personalized quote on the items that you are interested in today when you fill out and submit an Instant RFQ form through our website.


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