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AirNZ Self-Driving Tugs  
User currently offlinecrazyboi From Canada, joined Feb 2001, 155 posts, RR: 0
Posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 2691 times:

Hi All. Apologies if this has been discussed - I did some searching, but couldn't find anything. Perhaps I'm not familiar with the terminology involved.



I was at Auckland recently waiting for a domestic connection and sat in the terminal watching AirNZ 733's being pushed back. I was surprised to see a one-person pushback procedure that I'm not familiar with...

There was a small tug connected to left gear and facing *away* from the terminal. The pushback engineer connected his headset to the nose of the 737, as usual, and walked the aircraft away from the gate, but there was *no driver* on the tug. In fact, after pushback, the tug appeared to disconnect itself from the landing gear, drive itself back a safe distance, at which point the engineer walked over, got on, and drove back to the terminal.

Is this new technology? Is it widely implemented or unique to narrow-body operations at AKL? Is the tug control wired to the engineer (ie, does he/she 'drive' the tug remotely?), or is it guided wirelessly? Pretty interesting stuff.


This is the time. And this is the record of the time.
18 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinecontrails15 From United States of America, joined Oct 2008, 1181 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 2679 times:

As someone who has been pushing aircraft for almost 8 years now I've never heard of such of thing and for sure never heard of it in the states. I'm not doubting what you saw but a driver less pushback is way out in left field for me. I can't imagine how they would work. We're supposed to have a headset and a driver during push but in some cases the driver will where the headset and drive. Thats pretty standard at a lot of other airlines.


Giants football!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
User currently offlineKent350787 From Australia, joined May 2008, 955 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 2679 times:

DJ uses them at Sydney domestic as well (Jet* too maybe?) - not sure about your other questions

User currently offlinecontrails15 From United States of America, joined Oct 2008, 1181 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 2646 times:

What would we do with out youtube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48hGwauUbsQ


Wow, looks like I'm out of a job.



Giants football!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
User currently offlineaerorobnz From Rwanda, joined Feb 2001, 6900 posts, RR: 13
Reply 4, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 2621 times:

It's suited to 737 ops in tight gate spaces. if I recall the Engineer has a hand held controller in his hand. If that's not what it's for not I'm guessing it is preprogrammed by the engineer to a particular gate pushback so that it drives to the correct position and the controller is just an emergency stop button.

To my knowledge it has been in place for an extended period of time. I'm thinking 5-6 years if not longer.


User currently offlineikramerica From United States of America, joined May 2005, 21416 posts, RR: 60
Reply 5, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 2567 times:

Quoting contrails15 (Reply 3):
What would we do with out youtube.

One of the worst jobs of filming I've seen in a while. He misses everything important, but talks a lot...



Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
User currently offlinecrazyboi From Canada, joined Feb 2001, 155 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 2541 times:

Brilliant, thank you.

This seems like a great use of existing technology. I wonder whether it works with other types, like the A320.



This is the time. And this is the record of the time.
User currently offlineBoeingVista From Australia, joined Jan 2009, 1466 posts, RR: 2
Reply 7, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 2508 times:

Quoting crazyboi (Reply 6):
Brilliant, thank you.

This seems like a great use of existing technology. I wonder whether it works with other types, like the A320.

Used to watch them do this at Wellington all the time on the 733 but never on the A320 on neighbouring gates so assuming that for some reason its not possible (wheel sizes, weights?).

[Edited 2010-06-29 18:11:03]


BV
User currently offlinedinker225 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 1057 posts, RR: 19
Reply 8, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 2483 times:

I seem to recall seeing this done in Australia on a few of my visits. I believe with Virgin Blue on their 737's. It's very neat to watch. Kind of suprising we havnt seen it in the US yet.

Dinker

[Edited 2010-06-29 18:10:55]


Two rules in aviation, don't hit anything and don't run out of gas, cause if you run out of gas yer gonna hit something.
User currently offlinezkojh From China, joined Sep 2004, 1620 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 2459 times:

Well it was being used at AKL back in 2006/7 when I worked their, its a great job and looks so cool, I think I only recall seeing it used at the NZ domistic terminal - when I had to nip accross there. I hope it works well with the A320's as ANZ have ordered them to replac all 733's ops inc domistic services.


NZ 787-9 flying between PVG - AKL ! CAN'T WAIT!!
User currently offlineBoof From Australia, joined Apr 2008, 172 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 2421 times:

Quoting BoeingVista (Reply 7):
Used to watch them do this in Wellington all the time on the 733 but never on the A320 on neighbouring gates so assuming that for some reason its not possible (wheel sizes, weights?).

JQ use them here in Australia. I've seen them in photo in the database connected but if you take a peek at the large version of this photo:
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Nathan Bartlett


You can see the remote tug sitting under the wing box of this JQ A321 @ MEL. Once the rear stairs are removed the ground crew will manually drive it forward (you can see the seat and the steering wheel at the back of the unit) and connect it to the left main gear. It will then be operated remotely for the pushback.

During the use of these things the Skipper actually steers the aircraft with the nosewheel tiller in the cockpit taking directions from the ground crew member. Once the disconnect point is reached the ramper simply remotely disconnects and drives it like a remoter control car backwards until the aircraft is clear then he/she drives it back to the gate. It's pretty clever really!

Cheers,

Boof

Edit: I found the picture I was looking for and it is a beauty for this topic:
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © George Canciani



[Edited 2010-06-29 18:49:08]


If only B6 flew in Australia...
User currently offlinecrazyboi From Canada, joined Feb 2001, 155 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 2278 times:

Boof - that's fantastic, thanks. I wonder whether the liability issues associated with using a remotely-operated vehicle are one of the reasons that we don't see these in the US. I can imagine that narrowbody operators like Southwest would find them very useful.


This is the time. And this is the record of the time.
User currently offlineBoeingVista From Australia, joined Jan 2009, 1466 posts, RR: 2
Reply 12, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 2274 times:

Quoting Boof (Reply 10):

Cool, where can I get one?



BV
User currently offlineBoof From Australia, joined Apr 2008, 172 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 2074 times:

Quoting crazyboi (Reply 11):
Boof - that's fantastic, thanks. I wonder whether the liability issues associated with using a remotely-operated vehicle are one of the reasons that we don't see these in the US. I can imagine that narrowbody operators like Southwest would find them very useful.

Your welcome. I always thought that looking at every photo in the database would come in handy someday!

As for the liability I'm not too sure, certainly in Australia we are as prone to the joys of public liability etc as much as in North America so I doubt it's that reason.

Maybe it's got something to do with unions and jobs?? These machines only require one person to operate so I'm guessing that might be a reason. Funny thing in Australia and NZ we don't use wing walkers, come to think of it they don't in Europe either, yet in the North American region they are commonplace even when pushing a smaller jet like a 320 or 73G. Is that a union job saving things as well?



If only B6 flew in Australia...
User currently offlineAirportugal310 From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 3449 posts, RR: 2
Reply 14, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 2056 times:

Quoting Boof (Reply 13):
Maybe it's got something to do with unions and jobs??

You took the words out of my mouth. I would almost bet some money thats part of the reason.

But then again I have trouble seeing this work in some tight spaced airports like JFK, BOS, LGA etc...too many planes too close to one another in tight alley ways etc.

And on the flip side of that, its not worth the money probably to put such equipment at out-stations or low-traffic airports.



hit it and quit it
User currently offlineAntoniemey From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 1531 posts, RR: 4
Reply 15, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 1984 times:

Quoting Boof (Reply 13):
Funny thing in Australia and NZ we don't use wing walkers, come to think of it they don't in Europe either, yet in the North American region they are commonplace even when pushing a smaller jet like a 320 or 73G. Is that a union job saving things as well?

The number of wing-walkers required varies between airlines and equipment types... I have, in fact, pushed RJs out with just the tug driver and me, and I was walking next to the tug to maintain eye contact with the pilot. At the same company we wouldn't push an MD or Boeing or Airbus aircraft out without wing walkers on each wing.

Basically, in this case, it's more the companies trying to avoid having their insurance rates due to ramp rash rather than unions, because where I worked was non-union and any time we heard of a case of equipment hitting an aircraft or two aircraft colliding on the ramp that type of thing would be a focus for the supervisors for the next few weeks.

Of course, if we weren't busy we'd have the full 3-person push crew plus driver on even the smallest aircraft... except at the gate where the RJs could turn directly out... that one was fun.



Make something Idiot-proof, and the Universe will make a more inept idiot.
User currently offlinezeke From Hong Kong, joined Dec 2006, 8643 posts, RR: 75
Reply 16, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 1943 times:

Some other a.net discussion on the same topic

Strange Pushback Pic (by TheGregster Mar 31 2006 in Tech Ops)
Main Gear Pushback (by Speedbrds Jun 20 2009 in Tech Ops)
Pushback Using MLG -- B737 (by Brenintw Dec 4 2006 in Tech Ops)

Quoting crazyboi (Reply 11):
wonder whether the liability issues associated with using a remotely-operated vehicle are one of the reasons that we don't see these in the US.

I think it would be that tugs are already in place, the airlines that are using them had the choice of getting normal tugs, or these towbar less machines. And no towbar to shear.

I remember a case in Australia where someone picked up the wrong remote control, and started to push the aircraft from the adjacent gate.

Quoting Airportugal310 (Reply 14):
I would almost bet some money thats part of the reason.

Yes, 1-2 less people require to turn an aircraft around.

Quoting Airportugal310 (Reply 14):
And on the flip side of that, its not worth the money probably to put such equipment at out-stations or low-traffic airports.

If they have gates, it would be worth it, less people to employ.



We are addicted to our thoughts. We cannot change anything if we cannot change our thinking – Santosh Kalwar
User currently offlineUSAir1 From United States of America, joined Nov 2009, 71 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (3 years 9 months 3 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 1727 times:

Quoting Airportugal310 (Reply 14):
Quoting Boof (Reply 13):
Maybe it's got something to do with unions and jobs??
Quoting Airportugal310 (Reply 14):
You took the words out of my mouth.

Doubt that. The company I work for (US) is the reason we have two wing walkers and a push tug driver for EVERY push back. It is a safety issue. With the amount of congestion, ramp clutter and ever changing ramp tower instructions, it would significantly increase the number of aircraft damages on the ground. We used to only require one wing walker and there were too many aircraft damages. It wasn't any union who mandated two wing walkers it was the company because it was costing them much more money in damages. Aircraft damage is a serious thing and very costly.


User currently offlinecrownvic From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 1795 posts, RR: 5
Reply 18, posted (3 years 9 months 2 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 1432 times:

Saw this today at Sydney Kingsford airport for the first time...In a million years I would have never believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes! What a strange sight watching the Virgin Blue planes push away from the gate with a remote...I doubt this will ever come to the states..Huge liability I'm sure....

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