WheelTug completes 737NG tests

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Wheeltug plc announced the successful installation and test of the first in-wheel WheelTug® system in Prague on a Germania 737-700. During testing, pilots were able to push the plane back, and taxi without waiting for a tug or powering up the engines. Pilots were able to move the airplane using motors located in the nose wheel powered solely by the aircraft’s APU. WheelTug anticipates savings to be greater than current average airline per-flight profits.

The four day system test was conducted at Prague Ruzyne Airport. The system performed on all pavement types as well as wet and oil-slicked tarmac. You see a short video of the test here.

“I’m excited about seeing engineless-taxi come to aviation. It was a great honour to be the first pilot to use WheelTug on a Boeing 737,” said Germania Captain Patrick Hintzen. “In particular, there are many delays on push back and it is where the airline has the least control of aircraft. With WheelTug, we are freed from the ‘chains’ that keep us parked at the gate.”

The WheelTug is designed for rapid retrofit. In under two hours, the test system was uninstalled from the Germania 737-700 and the aircraft returned to service. WheelTug remains on target for Entry-into-Service for the 737NG and A320 families of aircraft. 215 WheelTug delivery slots have already been reserved by European, Middle East, and Asian airlines.

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5 comments on “WheelTug completes 737NG tests
  1. RH Hastings says:

    I like this system. In the company’s 2nd video presentation, they show damage to various aircraft by traditional tugs, yet I wonder how many pilots would back their aircraft into another or into other ground objects. So, ground crew must be much more involved in reverse steering guidance than now exists.

  2. keesje says:

    similar procedures have been there for decades, so I guess its doable
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ID3jfc39x3E&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    good to see the wheeltug guys finally succeeding.

    • keesje says:

      looking at the Airbus video, imagine the main landing motors driving the wheels in opposite directions.. a pirouette, enabling an aircraft doing a 360 on the spot..

  3. Rahosi says:

    Typically there are 4 ground crew involved with current methods. That will typically lessen to 3.

    Finally succeeding? The project has only been running for 7 years; probably 8½ years when it enters service. That is quite short for such technology.

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