When an aircraft goes out of service suddenly, it has to be towed to a safer location first. This will then be followed by repair and maintenance services. This, in turn, would help determine the cause of the problem. However, to move the aircraft from the runway to the aircraft maintenance section, there is a need to use the runway towing services that quality service providers render. Why? Because mistakes made during towing can lead to damage of aircraft and delay the operations in the airport.
Features of a good runway towing service
The features of a good runway towing service include –
Utilizing the appropriate aircraft tug
This is the first step in all runway towing procedures. It involves using the right ground support equipment (GSE). The person using the GSE must be aware of the towing capacity of the aircraft recovery dollies or tow bar tugs. Also, ensure that the condition of the tow bar is good. If there are cracks or other visible damages in the tow bar, refrain from using it.
Testing the brake system of the aircraft
The brake system of the aircraft has to be checked. Aircraft with a failed brake system should be towed into position for brake system repairs. Also, there should be standby personnel with wheel chocks for emergency use. It is advisable to have the wheel chocks ready throughout the aircraft towing operation. There is also a need for the person at the flight desk to coordinate the aircraft’s brake. It will be in coordination with that of the GSE.
Preparing the aircraft for towing
Before you engage in runway towing, it is important to ensure the following:
- The engine of the aircraft is turned off
- The entrance door is locked
- The ladders are retracted fully.
- The gear-down locks are installed.
- The landing gear struts are as well, as tires are properly inflated.
Ensuring qualified operators are handling the operation
This is very important as far as runway towing is concerned. This is because the person has to be aware of the type of aircraft to be towed, the GSE fleet, and the local operating standards.
Operating slowly and at a steady speed
When you are in control of the towing vehicle, you should maintain a towing speed t. incidentally, it should not be more than that of the walking speed of the team members. Starting or stopping suddenly is to be avoided. Also, unless it is an emergency, do not apply the brakes of the aircraft. The towing vehicle driver must follow the instructions of the team members in case of unsafe conditions. Also, they must maintain visual contact with the team members.
Parking the aircraft
The parking has to be done effectively, making proper use of the hangar space. You should also use aircraft parking equipment that includes wheel chocks, parking boots, and airplane covers. After this, it is important to ensure that proper ground signage and lighting are in place.
Maintaining good communication
This is the most crucial aspect of runway towing. This feature will help avoid accidents, injuries, and damages to the aircraft as well.
Runway towing services is important to ensure that there is no delay in towing the aircraft to safety. However, it will be effective only if it is done using the right equipment and personnel with knowledge and communication skills.