Wheel Motor Lets Aircraft Taxi on APU for Operational Savings
Gibraltar-based WheelTug has disclosed a letter of intent for KLM to test its wheel motor design allowing jet aircraft to taxi without running their main engines, as well as an MoU with the aircraft wheel and brake division of Parker Aerospace for wheels for the WheelTug system on Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 jets.
The WheelTug system slashes on-ground fuel use by up to 80%, the company says, as jets can move using electricity from their auxiliary power units alone. Most of its advantages, however, are operational: tugs can be eliminated, gate times more effectively managed, and aircraft moved about on runways more closely (F&F, March 28).
WheelTug earlier this year disclosed agreements with Alitalia, Jet Airways (India) Israir and El Al Israel Airlines for the system, and has released a series of videos detailing taxi trials in Prague, system componentry, and operational advantages.
The firm estimates the total savings at more than $500,000 per year, per aircraft.
“To date, 285 delivery slots for WheelTug systems have been reserved by airlines,” the company said on November 27.
Also, last month, WheelTug Air Navigation Services of the Czech Republic will provide service for the WheelTug system in Europe.
WheelTug uses Chorus Meshcon motors from its Chorus Motors parent.
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Source: WheelTug releases