Conventional vs. Bar-less Aircraft Tow Tractors

Airport tow tractors come in two different types; one of them comes with a tow bar and the other comes without the tow bar. One of the most common questions customers ask sales staff is which one would be recommended for their particular operation. Each type of aircraft tow tractor has its own benefits and disadvantages. If you are wondering which type will best suit your needs, detailed below you’ll find some information to consider which may help you to decide.

Safety Concerns

Safety is one of the top priorities when it comes to purchasing the right aircraft tow tractor. The design of the vehicle has a bearing upon visibility from the driver’s seat. The addition of a tow bar can increase the number of blind spots, making it more difficult to have a clear range of vision on a busy tarmac. In this regard, the conventional unit comes in last. The design of the body in bar-less units generally makes them lower to the ground and provides a broader viewing area.

Braking Features

The type of brakes affects the performance of the tow tractor when re-positioning an aircraft. The conventional type of aircraft tow tractor uses a centralized hydraulic system with disc brakes or an automotive type brake shoe. Tow bar-less tractor types offer a hydro static drive including dynamic braking. The dynamic braking system allows for a far smoother stopping experience. This type also includes an alarm system which helps to prevent jackknifing the aircraft when towing. There is a higher chance of this happening when using the conventional aircraft tow tractor.

Maintenance Considerations

Conventional tractors have a simpler design with fewer moving parts, making them easier and less expensive to maintain. Tow bar-less tractors are more complex and require a greater knowledge and skill base for mechanics who maintenance them.

Functionality in Operation

The tow bar-less unit has a tighter turning radius compared to its conventional counterpart. This makes it more beneficial to use when moving in and out of smaller areas. The decision in the long run is dependent upon the needs and the preferences of the customer. The strongest advantage of opting for a conventional airport tow tractor is found in the ease and less expensive maintenance which accompanies the choice. With regard to functionality, safety and braking amenities, the tow bar-less tractor comes out ahead with greater advantages all around. For more information on aircraft tow tractors and other ground support equipment, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the professionals found at Mercury GSE, you can view their available options or contact a representative with any concerns or questions you may have..


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Author: Myrtice Lovett

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