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avpeep
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Joined: Tue Jun 09, 2020 3:21 am

Spotting Baggage Tugs

Tue Jun 09, 2020 4:26 am

So airplanes are pretty cool... but has anyone here tried baggage tug spotting? :D Always see these things being carted around — are there good places to learn about the most common makes, models, and stuff?
 
N766UA
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Re: Spotting Baggage Tugs

Tue Jun 09, 2020 2:22 pm

Nope. But it is kinda cool to me how many 1960’s-era jet tugs there are out there. You can find pics of DC-8’s and 707’s being pushed by the exact same tug as an A220 now.

When I worked the ramp we had one such tug. I forget who builds them, but they’re the standard OG tug from the late 60’s I think. 50+ years old and still had less than 1000 miles on the odometer because it only drives 100 yards at a time!
 
remingtonbox
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Re: Spotting Baggage Tugs

Tue Jun 09, 2020 2:32 pm

I am in corporate aviation, but I use a tug to pull the airplane out that was originally used to pull around bombers in WWII. It has a Ford flathead engine in it!
 
n9801f
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Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2004 8:29 am

Re: Spotting Baggage Tugs

Tue Jun 09, 2020 2:53 pm

I know of one airline that used many tugs (tractors for baggage carts) that were 30-40 years old. Due to their age, they required occasional maintenance, but not much. Another airline had a special mechanic just for ground equipment who would visit all the stations in a region. These tugs were extremely sturdy.
 
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T18
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Re: Spotting Baggage Tugs

Tue Jun 09, 2020 3:05 pm

I'd think those tugs were built to survive if not an a-bomb at least 2 other apocalypses. There is a kinda of elegant but brutally utilitarian engineering to them.

I do wonder how long before we see the diesel and mo-gas models replaced by electric variants.
“Racing's important to men who do it well. When you're racing, it's life. Anything that happens before or after is just waiting.” ― Steve McQueen (Le Mans) 1971
 
wetpantsmcgee
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Re: Spotting Baggage Tugs

Tue Jun 09, 2020 3:22 pm

I've driven more ramp equipment than I can remember.

One vehicle I do remember was a pushback my former employer borrowed from a rental company. It was an ex-Air Force tug from decades ago. It sat so high you were almost eye-to-eye with the pilots on a 737. I believe it was also a 3-speed manual as well.
 
B757Forever
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Re: Spotting Baggage Tugs

Tue Jun 09, 2020 3:23 pm

DL has hundreds of International-Hough aircraft tugs that were originally built in the 1950's and still in daily use. Many have been re-engined with modern engines and transmissions. As far as bag tugs; when I started at DL 31 years ago, we still had hundreds of the Clark bag tugs with flathead Chrysler engines built during WWII that DL bought as surplus. Of course, the coolest bag tug ever built is the Clarkat with it's sweet art-deco lines. Cool and interesting post.
The Rolls Royce Dart. Noise = Shaft Horsepower.
 
n9801f
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Re: Spotting Baggage Tugs

Tue Jun 09, 2020 3:38 pm

Speaking of pushback tugs, I only drove a few. But one was the only manual transmission vehicle I ever drove where you operated the clutch with your arm.

Instead of the clutch being a left-foot pedal, it was a lever to the left of the steering wheel.
 
dmanonice
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Re: Spotting Baggage Tugs

Tue Jun 09, 2020 3:46 pm

As for baggage tugs, the primary makers at my airport are TUG and Harlan models for gas and TUG and Charlatte for electric. For pushbacks we have FMC/JBT Aero, TUG, TLD and quite a few oldies that have no brand markings on them but they are old and loud.
Mike
 
simairlinenet
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Re: Spotting Baggage Tugs

Tue Jun 09, 2020 5:14 pm

T18 wrote:
I do wonder how long before we see the diesel and mo-gas models replaced by electric variants.

The process is well underway, due to lower operating costs, albeit higher acquisition (unit + charging infrastructure) costs. At United 25% of our ground fleet is electric today.
 
tomaheath
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Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2014 11:58 pm

Re: Spotting Baggage Tugs

Tue Jun 09, 2020 8:50 pm

remingtonbox wrote:
I am in corporate aviation, but I use a tug to pull the airplane out that was originally used to pull around bombers in WWII. It has a Ford flathead engine in it!

That’s pretty neat.
 
dmanonice
Posts: 71
Joined: Sat Jun 18, 2016 4:09 am

Re: Spotting Baggage Tugs

Tue Jun 09, 2020 10:44 pm

T18 wrote:
I'd think those tugs were built to survive if not an a-bomb at least 2 other apocalypses. There is a kinda of elegant but brutally utilitarian engineering to them.

I do wonder how long before we see the diesel and mo-gas models replaced by electric variants.


Our airport bag rooms have been zero emission vehicles only since it was built in 2004 so while there are a lot of gas tugs out there the numbers are almost even with electric. They keep the gas ones around for winter when the ramp is snow covered and the electrics huts don’t quite cut it (too light)
Mike
 
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avpeep
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Re: Spotting Baggage Tugs

Wed Jun 10, 2020 12:14 am

simairlinenet wrote:
T18 wrote:
I do wonder how long before we see the diesel and mo-gas models replaced by electric variants.

The process is well underway, due to lower operating costs, albeit higher acquisition (unit + charging infrastructure) costs. At United 25% of our ground fleet is electric today.


Yeah, I've also been hearing about self-driving / autonomous baggage tractor concepts? Sorta like this: https://youtu.be/VkZqR890zo8?t=39

Wonder if it'll ever catch on...
 
F9Animal
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Re: Spotting Baggage Tugs

Wed Jun 10, 2020 2:16 am

Oh yeah... The good old tug. UA in the mid 90's bought some pretty nice new Toyota type of tugs for baggage. Those things were great! The old Mash 1960's tugs were okay.

As for push back tractors? I have operated just about every type there is. Every single one has some awkward quirky thing about it. When I was at Frontier, the horn would activate if you put the tractor into drive, and the emergency break was still up. Or at UA, some of the tractors required twisting the wheel a degree or two while turning the ignition to get it started. I don't think there was ever a single push back tractor I operated that didn't have some form of issue with it.
I Am A Different Animal!!
 
MohawkWeekend
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Re: Spotting Baggage Tugs

Wed Jun 10, 2020 10:18 am

During my brief career as a ramper, we would leave certain tugs running all night in the winter if it got below a certain temp - maybe 15 degrees or so. Might not start the next day otherwise. I always thought electric would be the answer some day. Along with autonomous too for some applications - a robot to dump the lavs :boggled:
A mechanic would fly in once a week from a hub to do maintenance. The equipment was very robust and reliable.
    300 319 320 321 707 717 720 727 72S 737 73S 734 735 73G 738 739 747 757 762 ARJ B11 C212 CRJ CR2 CR7 CR9 CV5 D8S DC9 D9S D94 D95 D10 DH8 DTO EMB EM2 E135 E145 E190 FH7 F28 F100 FTRIMTR HRN L10 L15 M80 M90 SF3 SWM YS11
     
    FGITD
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    Re: Spotting Baggage Tugs

    Thu Jun 11, 2020 3:55 am

    Once got to oversee the stripping and repainting of some GSE. Every layer of paint revealed yet another former owner. By the end they'd gone through decades of mergers, acquisitions, bankruptcies.

    The tractors (remember, TUG is actually a brand) are downright incredible. For most of them, the first and last time they're ever stored inside is at the factory, yet they'll run for decades.

    Personally always liked TLD equipment the most
     
    jetmatt777
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    Re: Spotting Baggage Tugs

    Thu Jul 02, 2020 5:04 pm

    n9801f wrote:
    Speaking of pushback tugs, I only drove a few. But one was the only manual transmission vehicle I ever drove where you operated the clutch with your arm.

    Instead of the clutch being a left-foot pedal, it was a lever to the left of the steering wheel.


    Not that strange of an idea if you have ever driven a motorcycle.

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