Something that all aircraft have in common is that they take a lot of looking after. Just to get them ready to take to the skies and keeping them maintained requires a lot of work. The ground crews who perform this vital role have to depend upon certain specialist pieces of equipment and tools supplied by companies such as Red Box Aviation to enable them to do their jobs. This equipment is collectively referred to as ground support equipment, which includes products that fall into categories such as ground power equipment, aircraft moving equipment and aviation tools. But what is this ground support equipment actually needed for?
Firstly, let’s think about how an aircraft is moved into and out of its parking slot. This manoeuvre requires quite a degree of precision and control of something that could weigh from several thousand kilograms up to a hundred tonnes or more. It therefore requires a specialist piece of aircraft moving equipment which is known as an aircraft tug. These aircraft tugs, or aviation tugs, can range from small hand operated pieces of equipment that give powered assistance and that can move aircraft up to around 5 tonnes to larger, all-wheel drive, vehicles that can move large passenger aircraft around with relative ease. These aircraft moving tugs can also be gas powered or electric.
Ground Power Units
Now, moving an aircraft around is one thing, but providing the power to enable it to start its engines is a very different task again. Aircraft generally require a ground power unit to supply them with power in the correct voltage to get their engines started. The exact requirements for this power vary from one aircraft to another. For some small aircraft 12V power is needed whilst many others require 24V or even 28V power units. As well as supplying the necessary power to start the aircraft some ground power units are also designed to provide a continuous source of power to the plane whilst it is on the ground. These power units enable the on-board systems to run from the power supplied by the ground power unit – or GPU as they are sometimes called. Add to this some of the other specialist types of ground power equipment like charge management systems etc. and you will start to see how complex the whole issue of powering an aircraft whilst it is on the ground can be.
In addition to moving and powering an aircraft there are of course other tasks that are crucial to keep it maintained and flying safely. Specialist tools are used to test, measure and maintain an aircraft’s systems in tiptop condition. These include specialist aviation tools to inspect and work on the aircraft. Some of these tools would be quite familiar to many people, including spanners, pliers, socket sets and so on. However, other, very specific, tools are also used to measure voltage as well as temperature to ensure that all readings meet the manufacturer’s required test scenarios and that all systems are functioning properly. In addition, borescopes and fiberscopes are used to visually inspect inaccessible areas of the aircraft too.
So, next time you get on board an aircraft spare a thought for all of the hard work that has gone into making sure that it can fly safely and all of the special equipment that has been used in helping the aircraft get you to your destination and of the companies that supply this type of equipment too. It thanks to companies such as these that you are able to fly in safety and with the minimum of hassle.
Laila Azzahra is a professional writer and blogger that loves to write about technology, business, entertainment, science, and health.