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Small Fittings Take on Big Responsibility (.PDF Download)

Aug. 28, 2017
Small Fittings Take on Big Responsibility (.PDF Download)

Because airplanes cannot back up, aircraft tractors are used to move them away from a gate and transfer throughout the airport. The new AST-2P/X, named the Phoenix, is the fourth generation of towbarless tractors designed and built by Goldhofer AG, Memmingen, Germany. It can move more than 80% of all commercial aircraft in use worldwide, including the new Airbus A350 and the B777X, now under development by Boeing.

In a record time of less than 60 seconds, the Phoenix aircraft tractor from Goldhofer engages an airplane and is ready to begin moving it. (Photo courtesy of Goldhofer GmbH)

Goldhofer combines a proven hydrostatic drive system with a differential lock to offer greater maneuverability and—thanks to the vehicle’s load distribution—optimized traction, steering, and braking of Goldhofer aircraft tractors. Operator guidance is aided by a central touchscreen that provides effortless and precise handling of aircraft up to 352 tons.

The Phoenix deploys swivel arms of its receiving mechanism to envelop, clamp, and lift the aircraft’s nose gear. With the nose gear secured, the tractor can move the aircraft anywhere in the airport at the area speed limit of about 20 mph (32 km/h). The vehicle needs less than one minute to securely engage the airplane, which helps speed airport operations and may be the quickest among aircraft tractors.

Goldhofer specializes in providing heavy-duty and special transport vehicles for over-the-road, off-highway, and airport applications. It has supplied more 35,000 vehicles for use in more than 160 countries, including more than 6,000 aircraft tractors.