How to Choose the Right Type of Towbar for Your Aircraft

When moving an aircraft away from the airport gate or out of a hanger, a towbar is an indispensable piece of equipment. Aircraft engines are powerful, thus if used in close proximity to equipment and structures, they can pose serious damage or safety risks. Engines are expensive to run, and thus it is not beneficial to spend fuel that is best reserved for takeoff and flight. Because of these concerns, towbars along with pushback tractors are used to safely taxi aircraft around a runway. As aircraft come in many types and sizes, choosing the Right Aircraft Towbar for your needs is important.

Every aircraft has a specific type of connection, just as towbars may have various capacities and abilities. Across most aircraft, there are a few Standard Types of Towbar that may suit your needs. These include light aircraft, multi-head, commercial, and application specific towbars.

Light aircraft towbars are some of the most simple and portable types for the movement of smaller aircraft. With these towbars, the head is often attached to the Nose Wheel or tail wheel and can then be pulled by hand via a handle. As these are unpowered and lightweight, they are best suited for light aircraft under 12,500 lbs.

Multi-head towbars are very versatile and can encompass a wide range of aircraft models. This is because they allow for towbar heads to be interchanged for each type of aircraft that is to be moved. Multi-head Towbars are very beneficial as only one towbar would need to be owned while multiple heads can be purchased separately, saving both room and money. Multi-head towbars are usually either standard or heavy duty in design.

Commercial towbars are a much more heavy duty type that require attachment to a tug or tractor for aircraft taxiing. This is due to the fact that they are designed to move Large Commercial Passenger Planes and thus must be able to pull upwards of one million pounds. Once the head is attached to the aircraft, the pilot and the tug driver communicate together as the aircraft is taxiid to its destination safely and soundly before takeoff.

Lastly, there are many application specific towbars that may feature a range of heads and bars depending on the type of aircraft that is being pulled and are typically designed for a specific model. Altogether, when deciding which towbar is best suited for your needs, it is important to consider your aircraft, how much space you have for the amount of towbars or types you need, and other various factors.


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