Electric aircraft taxi system

Guest Writer

Electric aircraft taxi system

WheelTug has debuted its innovative electric aircraft taxi system with a demonstration, held at Memphis International Airport, and Zoomed all over the world reports London based Malcolm Ginsberg of Business Travel News www.btnews.co.uk

Chosen to conduct the test campaign was IABG, the highly regarded German test house.

The WheelTug electric drive system uses high-performance electric motors, installed in the nose gear wheels of an aircraft, to provide full mobility while on the ground, without the use of the aircraft’s jet engines or tugs for both pushback and taxi operations.  WheelTug enables aircraft to be electrically driven from the terminal gate to the take-off runway, and upon landing from runway exit to the gate.  The resulting improvements in efficiency, flexibility, fuel savings, and reduced engine foreign object damage (FOD) reduces operating expenses per aircraft per year, plus substantial reductions in CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions.

An integral part of the WheelTug e-taxi system is WheelTug Vision (WTV), a camera system developed by the German company Dresden Aerospace.  WTV provides pilots with the necessary situational awareness to safely maneuver their aircraft without using jet engines or relying on tugs.

WTV deploys two 360° camera systems and offers optional side cameras which feed panoramic real-time video to the pilots’ electronic flight bags.  Pilots may choose from different views as required for various operations, whether moving forward or backward.

Dresden Aerospace is heading WTV efforts in partnership with Otonomy Aviation S.A.S. (France), which focuses on developing and producing aviation camera systems, and Alamo Engineering GmbH (Germany), which provides EASA and FAA certification expertise, including the aircraft installation kit.  The companies, together with WheelTug, are now reviewing test results with the goal of bringing WTV to certification and production by mid-2021.

WheelTug reduces aircraft ground time by eliminating the need to wait for push-back vehicles, thereby providing substantial cost savings to airlines.  E-taxi is also faster, safer, and greener.  WheelTug will first be certificated for the Boeing 737NG, entering the market in early 2022.

WheelTug was first announced as long ago as 2007.  To date more than 25 airlines representing 2,000+ aircraft have now signed Letters of Intent.  www.wheeltug.com


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