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Virgin Atlantic towing a/c to the hold.

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Virgin Atlantic towing a/c to the hold.

Old 24th Apr 2007, 21:57
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Question Virgin Atlantic towing a/c to the hold.

When is someone actually going to beard old woolypully properly and point out the inanity of towing aircraft to the holding point? I can already see the traffic jams, the lack of tugs, the starting problems, the queues, the roar of hundreds of diesels. For goodness sake, I understand his need for publicity, but this is becoming monotonous, not to mention ridiculous. The next thing you know, it will become politically fashionable, Gordo will subsidise it to look green, and we'll be even later on each sector.

Clear land 27R after the tug vacating to the left.......

(I'm not even going to mention his 'deal' with Boeing regarding 'green' fuel, I'm sure Boeing will take ever so much notice of a tiddler airline and change their engine policies overnight...NOT!
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Old 24th Apr 2007, 22:10
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On the virgin web site it doesn't say anything about towing aircraft to the holding point. It mentions a "starting grid".

I would asume that "starting grids" aren't that common at many airports in the world.

If a starting grid was created I imagine it would be some where between the stands and the holding point, but seeing as they don't yet exist, who knows.
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Old 24th Apr 2007, 22:12
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As I understand it this is being taken seriously. I'm sure I have seen studies on flight deck controlled vehicles attached to the nosewheel. How about disconnecting these at the hold, starting engines. The "tug" homes to a supermarket trolley style park, where it is recharged using green renewable or nuclear electricity. From there it can be dispatched back to terminal via a distinct route and drawn to the next departure.

On arrival as the aircraft vacates, tug emerges form another supermarket trolley park, connects, and then engines are shut down and tug moves aricraft to stand.

Is it feasible and how much would it save?
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Old 24th Apr 2007, 22:14
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VIR tried it once at LHR.

Not trying again.
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Old 24th Apr 2007, 22:16
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a british company has already invented such a remote controlled motor .... Delta has taken a stake in the company and will soon be conducting trials
more here...
http://business.timesonline.co.uk/to...cle1652587.ece
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Old 24th Apr 2007, 22:23
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Burning fuel for half an hour or five minutes? Makes sense, and is actively being persued by quite a few.

Certainly is not a foolish fashion statement.
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Old 24th Apr 2007, 22:26
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True - but at least he is thinking about the issue.

Just wait till the greenies insist on eco friendly steam-powered catapult launches from Heathrow. Actually... that doesnt sound like such a bad idea
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Old 24th Apr 2007, 22:39
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Virginblue in Oz use remote controlled (by ramp personnel) tug devices that attach to the right main gear and disconnect after pushback. Are these used in Europe? I understand that these were introduced to reduce the number of people required for pushback and not as any kind of 'green' device though.
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Old 24th Apr 2007, 22:47
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Seen one in use at MRS.
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Old 24th Apr 2007, 22:58
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Are these used in Europe?
Powerpush. Used to use them in BRU years ago.
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Old 24th Apr 2007, 23:09
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Just you pilots remember, when the tug driver gets up enough speed and gives you the thumbs up, foot off the clutch and awf you go, but make sure you are in 2nd gear.
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Old 24th Apr 2007, 23:18
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VIR tried it once at LHR.
I'm hoping that it was an unmitigated disaster...
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Old 24th Apr 2007, 23:28
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This assumes we believe in Global Warming! Much as I respect and admire Branson I am not so sure this proposal is "joined up" thinking. Sounds more like a good publicity stunt to me - have you seen the latest TV adverts for Virgin trains?
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Old 25th Apr 2007, 02:55
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What none of these proposals, or Zero emission vehicles, or every other low emission concept seems to consider is that the power has to come from somewhere.. which is, for the greater part of the world, fossil fuels.

Which do you think has more of an impact - burning oil to produce electricity to warm up power lines, to charge batteries to move a truck to push an aeroplane.... with all the attendant losses and inefficiencies all the way down the chain..

Or just burn the oil in the plane/car in the first place?

Perhaps 'they' should concentrate on replacing power generation infrastructure with solar and wind, to reduce environmental impact that way. But then the enviro weenies will complain about the noise, and spoiling the landscape.

Sorry, bordering on a rant, but I'm sure I'm not the only one that thinks there's a real lack of grown up thinking around this sort of thing!
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Old 25th Apr 2007, 03:21
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Well although in theory the system could work.... With Virgin having its main base at LHR where exactly does he suggest they place these "Starting grids"??? Ramp space is at a premium and the taxi ways are generally congested enough as it is!!!!

Grand for somewhere like Dallas or Houston but lets be realistic!
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Old 25th Apr 2007, 03:35
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But at JFK? Doesn't bear thinking about!
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Old 25th Apr 2007, 05:50
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It is just another example of Beardey's publicity seeking ego-mania.

There is no way a squadron of tugs could tow the huge nember of arriving and departing aircfaft at places like LAX, LHR, JFK etc etc.

As for bio-fuel, the USAF have been testing it in a B52 and the South Africans are way ahead of Beardey in research into it's use for aviation.

Last edited by beerdrinker; 26th Apr 2007 at 06:28.
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Old 25th Apr 2007, 06:01
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Why not ?

I think that it comes down to the taxi times and not the airport config/space.

At airports like LHR or JFK where there can be considerable taxi delays being towed out could save ALOT of fuel industry wide.

As a 400 driver we sometines burn over two tonnes of fuel taxiing in NY LHR and CDG. That is more than twice the taxi fuel at most airports. Not to mention when the weather gets bad and departure seperation increases. It makes sense to be towed out , delay starting until within 15 min of take off.

On the down side there would be a little more work for GND control. If you had a problem on start, getting back to the bay would be an issue. Weighing the occasional probleem against the savings still makes this a good idea.

As for the size or availability of starting grids, the a/c could be started right on the taxi ways in departure sequence. The tug could then be disconnected and driven back via a parallel service road or use a parallel taxi way. It would even pay airlines to build service roads.

I am all for sensible calculations of actual carbon footprint. I am certain that a tug would burn far less than any aircraft.

Our airline would save 2 tonnes per flight per day, BA and Virgin would save millions. It is a good idea. Might be a little more hassle for us at the pointy end, the controllers and the ground personel, but the savings and goodwill are worth it in todays economic and enviromental climate.

FG
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Old 25th Apr 2007, 06:08
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Smile Towing - environtmental (or simlpy "mental")

Is there any INDEPENT analasis available comparing the real polution produced by an aircraft taxiing and the tug that might possibly replace it for a part of the journey?
I spend much of my time breathing the fumes of both, and I would suggest that your average aircraft engine is much better maintained than the equivalent in the tug.
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Old 25th Apr 2007, 06:37
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Unrealised invention

I have quite a few unrealised inventions in my mental cupboard - sure I would be rich if I had done something about them - sure you have had the same things...
One of them was an electrical drive to L/R Main Wheels, powered by the APU which would allow a/c to move independently of Tractor and of Engines.
There - now I have given it away and someone else will be rich instead.
FC.
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