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.