WheelTug

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

WheelTug is a ground propulsion system for aircraft which puts a high torque electric motor into each of the nose wheels hubs to allow for backwards movement without the use of pushback tugs, to allow for forward movement without using the aircraft's engines, and to allow for rotation of the aircraft at the gate.[1] By rotating the aircraft at the gate using WheelTug, both the front and rear door of the aircraft can be used for faster boarding. [2] The two electric motors in the nosewheel, together are projected to weigh less than 150 kg,[3] drives the aircraft with power supplied by the onboard auxiliary power unit rather than main engine thrust, which reduces emissions, fuel consumption, brake wear, maintenance, noise, and engine damage from foreign object damage. [4]

The company owning the design, Wheeltug PLC, is a subsidiary of Chorus Motors which is also owned by Borealis Exploration; Wheeltug is not publicly traded.[5]

According to Fleets&Fuels website, a Wheeltug press release claims that in February 2014 their Order Book was 785 [6] pre-production “slot reservations” and the Wheeltug website lists the following airlines as potential customers: El Al, Jet Airways, Israair, Alitalia, Onur Air, KLM, Corendon Airlines, Airberlin, Iceland Air, Malaysia Airlines, Volaris, Air Transat, Hainan Airlines.[7]

In 2013 Isaiah Cox, WheelTug's CEO, said Wheeltug is being offered to customers with no up-front cost in return for 50% of the savings realized by the airline.[8]

History[edit]

In June 2005 Boeing Phantom Works and Chorus Motors ground tested the WheelTug concept on an Air Canada 767 at the Evergreen Air Center at Pinal Air Park in Marana, Arizona with an electric motor attached to the nose wheel for taxi testing.[9] Wheeltug and Delta Airlines issued a joint press release in 2007 that Delta would become a development partner and launch customer for Wheeltug expecting first production units to be installed on Delta's 737s by late 2009.[10] Wheeltug signed an agreement in 2007 with Newport Aeronautical Development turnkey service to ensure FAA Supplemental Type Certificate on the Boeing 737NG by December 2009 as well as other assistance.[11] WheelTug Limited and Co-Operative Industries completed an Electrical Load Measurement (ELM) on a B737NG in January 2010 at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, GA to confirm sufficient power.[12] Tests were conducted at Prague Airport in November 2010 in snowy and icy conditions. The first fully 'in-wheel' demonstration unit was tested at Prague Airport June 2012.

In Wheeltug 2014 annual report the independent audit by Moore Stephens says "Without modifying our opinion, we draw attention to note 1 in the financial statements which highlights the existence of a material uncertainty relating to conditions that may cast doubt about the company’s ability to continue as a going concern."[13] This note describes the material uncertainty with the statement "In order to meet future expenditures and cover administrative costs, the Company may need to raise additional financing. Although the Company has been successful in raising funds to date, there can be no assurance that adequate funding will be available in the future, or available under terms favourable to the Company."[14]

In January 2015 WheelTug received an aircraft from Air Transat for development and testing.[15]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Latin America and Caribbean Engineering & MRO Summit. "WheelTug - Far Beyond Savings" (PDF). http://www.alta.aero. pp. 13–14. 
  2. ^ http://www.wheeltug.gi/reports/FY2014/Wheeltug_plc_annual_report_2014.pdf
  3. ^ "WheelTug, Safran-Honeywell and IAI Offer Three Rival Solutions for Airline Engine-off Taxiing". 
  4. ^ http://www.wheeltug.gi/reports/FY2014/Wheeltug_plc_annual_report_2014.pdf
  5. ^ http://www.wheeltug.gi/company.php
  6. ^ "WheelTug Claims 785 Aircraft Orders - Feb 23, 2014". FleetsAndFuels.com. 2014-02-23. 
  7. ^ "Customers". www.WheelTug.com. 
  8. ^ "Royal Aeronautical Society - Event - Toulouse Branch - Aircraft E-Taxi in the Fast Lane by WheelTug Electrically Powered Nose Wheel". aerosociety.com. 28 January 2015. 
  9. ^ "Boeing Demonstrates New Technology for Moving Airplanes on the Ground - Aug 1, 2005" (Press release). Boeing.mediaroom.com. 2005-08-01. Retrieved 2013-10-23. 
  10. ^ http://news.delta.com/index.php?s=20295&item=123029
  11. ^ http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=conewsstory&tkr=CHOMF:US&sid=aoa_xOa10aWc
  12. ^ http://www.wheeltug.gi/press/pr_WT20100201.shtml[dead link]
  13. ^ http://www.wheeltug.gi/reports/FY2014/Wheeltug_plc_annual_report_2014.pdf
  14. ^ "FY2014 Financial Statement" (PDF). www.WheelTug.com. pp. Page 12. In order to meet future expenditures and cover administrative costs, the Company may need to raise additional financing. Although the Company has been successful in raising funds to date, there can be no assurance that adequate funding will be available in the future, or available under terms favourable to the Company 
  15. ^ http://www.sys-con.com/node/3270361

External links[edit]