MaxFacts: Sterling Redesigns the Nose Wheel! (APU Powered Pushback)

MaxSez: No more Tugs for Pushback! I believe this concept will takeoff.

Stirling Dynamics has been awarded a new contract from WheelTug to deliver a new nose wheel design for the Boeing 737NG family of aircraft, which will be fitted with the WheelTug system. The WheelTug® system is a unique and disruptive technology that consists of a nose wheel mounted motor and drive, powered by the aircraft’s Auxiliary Power Unit (APU), and aims to save time, engine life and fuel use resulting in reduced emissions and significant cost savings for aircraft operators.

Stirling was chosen to carry out the work due to our niche capabilities in landing gear design and analysis. Under this contract, we will be helping WheelTug design and achieve certification for this brand-new landing gear nose wheel. Our engineering team will draw on the company’s core capabilities in reverse engineering, wheel analysis, landing gear analysis, safety analysis and structural stress analysis.

On this new contract, Stirling’s Aerospace Business Manager, Bandula Pathinayake stated: “We are proud to work on this innovative technology with the WheelTug team, this new contract is another step forward in seeing this innovative technology reaching the marketplace.” (Source: AvNews)

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Unique idea. Should do well but the change is going to be hard for ground companies like Swissport etc. to face. Still a very nice idea though.

I’m more concerned on how the pilots will be able to see where they’re going. Would cameras have to be outfitted to the belly/tail of the aircraft? Interesting concept though.

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Maybe they’ll put mirrors like cars have, lol.
I thought the same thing, maybe they still use ground crew to guide the pilots on the way out.

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yes plz that would be great for the ground crew it would be more realistic and it would be so much more fun with that

That’s really cool!

It’s funny to think that we kinda already have this feature in Infinite Flight, as the planes push back without tugs.

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thanks @Maxmustang, great topic again.

even if there are cameras fitted to the aircraft i suspect that there will still be a need for wing walkers and a Crew Chief to oversee the engine start up , so Swissport etc will have to adapt their job as sounds like it would just make the tug redundnat rather than other roles. Also think it would be a while before being extended to some of the wide body aircraft!

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True. Makes sense. Nicely explained 😉

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This would definitely save time and money in my opinion. I like it, but for some reason, tugs will be missed from me…

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I wouldn’t think they would get rid of the ramp agents. Just my 2 cents.

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I am curious to see how this does on larger aircraft. It may be successful on the B737 and A320 families but I am quite skeptical of larger aircraft like the A330 and up.

Bet there will be wing walkers mandatory.

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Great idea. Took more than a few delays over the years waiting on a towbar or tug.

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I am questionable about this…I really prefer the tow tug to this new design. Kinda not ready to advance in this area of technology…

@Delta_Alpha_Lima …MaxSez. You surprise me Delta. As Sun Country CEO a Cost Benefit Analysis of this innovation would change your mind if you where playing at it for real and not stuck in a virtual mind set.

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Wouldn’t it be cheaper to have a tug that stays on the ground than extra weight that could cost hundreds in fuel including the retrofit / install cost?

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Well, it looks like Infinite Flight are already ahead of them with no pushback trucks 😁

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Are we putting review mirrors on airliners now?

@Maxmustang im going to have to agree with @Kevin_Potthast on this one. in an industry where weight is everything, the added weight to aircraft will most likely cost airlines more in fuel over the course of a flight than simply paying the 2 minutes of wages to the guy plus fuel and maintenance for the tug.

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