Five features to look for in an Aircraft Tug

There are a plethora of things you need to consider before buying an aircraft tug because it’s crucial that you purchase the right tug. But why do you need an aircraft tug? Simply because they make it easier to move your aircraft. They make the process easier; they are safe, fast, efficient, more maneuverable, and save money in the long run.

The aircraft is moved forward, usually with engines off and with the help of a specialized ground vehicle called an aircraft tug. Tugs are used for moving both in and out of service aircraft. The procedure involves two parties: the person in the aircraft’s flight deck and the person in charge of the ground vehicle (tug).

The flight deck attendant gives the ‘breaks released’ signal, and then the tug attendant is responsible for the aircraft’s safe movement. The procedure needs to be carried out very carefully because even a small mistake can lead to an unforgettable catastrophe. To avoid accidents and complications, you need to use suitable aircraft tug. You can choose from several types of tugs depending upon the purpose and size of the operation.

Types of aircraft tugs

The aircraft tugs can be divided into mainly two categories: Conventional tow bar tugs and towbarless tugs. Under these categories, there are various tugs having distinctive features. You can select a tug based on what features suit your requirements and are compatible with your aircraft. Many tugs are built for specific purposes, and you need to make sure you select the one suitable for you.

Conventional tow bar tugs

These are the most commonly used tugs. You get manual tow bar tugs, and then there are tugs that are powered by gas or diesel. They are best for lightweight aircraft and can also be used for large ones. You attach the tow bar to the aircraft fitting, and you’re good to go. But they also have many drawbacks. Most aircraft require a unique tow bar fitting, which means you will need to buy different tow bar fitting for each aircraft, and it’s expensive and time-consuming. They also have a long turn radius compared to towbarless tugs.

Towbarless tugs

Instead of connecting to the aircraft’s wheels, Towbarless tugs scoop the wheel on top and can push and pull it with ease. Towbarless tugs have numerous benefits over the regular tow bar tugs. You can avoid almost all of their drawbacks. But towbarless tugs require more attention and personnel on the ground during the procedure. However, this drawback is almost negligible in front of all other benefits.

Electric tugs

Now, these are the products of the latest inventions and technological advancements. These include electric tow bar tugs or remote-controlled towbarless tugs. The main purpose of electric tugs is to replace the fuel consuming tugs. The latest advancements are putting forward hybrid models that can provide a better service.

There are various types available in the market having numerous features, so how would you select the right one for you? Here we have mentioned some things that you must look for in an aircraft tug.

Weight and rating of your aircraft

aircraft tug

A conventional tow bar tug can be adequate for moving a lightweight aircraft, but you will need powered tugs to move larger aircraft. However, towbarless tugs are considered the most powerful, and they are best if you are moving multiple types of aircraft.

There are various types of Platform scales available for weighing aircraft that you can use. All tugs are not made of a specific type, and they shouldn’t be. They are created to be utilized for different purposes, and that’s why the tug must align with the aircraft’s rating and weight; otherwise, it will be useless for you.

Specifications of the aircraft tug

The capabilities and specifications of the tug make a huge impact on the correct selection. Look out for the aircraft tug features, like it has an aero tow power train, which allows it to operate smoothly because the tug will have no gears to shift. A tug with throttle grip control offers maximized control and enhanced maneuverability even in tight spots.

Look if it offers hydro-static transmission, and it’s also known as hydro-drive. The process involves the use of hydraulic oil for transmission, which enhances maneuverability and offers dynamic braking. These distinctive features make a tug more suitable for your aircraft, so it’s better to check for these Specifications as they can serve you better.

Consider the location

The location matters because, ultimately, the tug is going to be used in that place. The location will determine the weather conditions in which the tug will be used, and that’s why you should consider the location before purchasing an aircraft tug. People are often looking for specific tugs that can work in certain locations when others possibly can’t.

Note the application grade

Application grade refers to the surface condition the tug needs to face. The tug’s size and capabilities will vary according to the percentage of slope and the weight because the steep slopes are bound to affect a tug’s performance, especially when stopping. So you need to make sure to get the one that works best for you. You need to know about the tug’s basic and advanced features and how it can benefit your operations.

Risk management

There are various instances of incidents and accidents involved with towing the aircraft. And a lot of those accidents had to do with the capabilities of the tug used. So we can’t stress enough that it’s crucial to select the right tug. It often happens that an accident occurred despite the features of an aircraft tug simply because the tug was not suitable for the aircraft or the location where it was used. Therefore selecting the correct tug is crucial.

Millennium Mechatronics offers a wide range of load cells and weighing machines to businesses in Australia. Individuals and businesses looking for high quality weighing equipment can consider buying from this company. With vast experience Millennium Mechatronics is a company you can trust for weighing solutions.


In the article above, we discussed the major five things to look for in an aircraft tug. Apart from the above points, certain obvious things you need to keep in mind are your budget, frequency of use, and the operations’ intensity. Now you have everything you need to know to select the right aircraft tug.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *