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Who Can Tow An Aircraft?

Thu Apr 20, 2006 12:10 pm

My step dad works for Air New Zealand as an engineer in Christchurch, and on tuesday he towed an aircraft from one end of the hangar to the other by pulling it out and putting it in on the otherside of the hangar, as it had just been washed and now needed scheduled matenience. But he did not have any sort of licence for towing an aircraft. But he was under supervision from people who do. Is this aloud to happen or not?


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RE: Who Can Tow An Aircraft?

Thu Apr 20, 2006 12:40 pm

This question would be best asked in the Tech/Ops forum.
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RE: Who Can Tow An Aircraft?

Thu Apr 20, 2006 12:41 pm

Maybe he was training to do so. Usually airlines have a procedure where you must have certain training to pushback and tow airplanes. Once you have completed this training you must show that you are proficient in doing so. I am certified to pushback and tow, as well as teach others how do do so. Hope this helps you out.
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RE: Who Can Tow An Aircraft?

Thu Apr 20, 2006 1:37 pm

Aircraft are towed by either engineers (AMEs / A&Ps) or rampies. There is a process to go through to become trained - it varies depending on the company. To tow an airplane on an airport, you need to be able to use the radio (in Canada, you need a radio operator licence), you need to be able to drive the tractor (local training, usually just a quick drive), and to be familiar with towing procedures. Usually that's a few trips with a supervising driver.

Once you've done that, at my company at least, you're on your own, fully qualified to move a $40 million dollar airplane, regardless of weather, taxiway condition, and hangar congestion. Don't hit anything.

Generally AMEs tow aircraft for maintenance, and rampies do push-backs.
The primary function of the design engineer is to make things difficult for the manufacturer and impossible for the AME.
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RE: Who Can Tow An Aircraft?

Thu Apr 20, 2006 2:36 pm

It differs by airline.
At some airlines, only maintenance is allowed to use the push tugs at all, be it towing or pushing.
At mine, the ramp does everything. I work on the ramp, and I'd only been on the job for maybe three months before I was towing planes from one side of the airport to the other. It's not complicated.

The airport, as of last year now requires a separate certification to tow aircraft. I haven't needed to get one as of yet.
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RE: Who Can Tow An Aircraft?

Thu Apr 20, 2006 9:34 pm

See this thread, lots of replies and information :
Non-pilot Taxi (by RG828 Apr 13 2006 in Tech Ops)
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