Push Back

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The responsibilities of the ground crew team carrying out a pushback include ensuring that no part of the aircraft structure will impact any fixed object or other aircraft and may include giving clearance to start one or more engines just before, during or immediately after a pushback.


The number of people assigned to a ground crew team for a pushback may vary according to aircraft size, but in most cases will be at least three. One will be driving the pushback vehicle, one will be walking in the vicinity of one of the aircraft wingtips and looking beyond the aircraft tail and one will be in charge of the manoeuvre and in communication with the person with aircraft responsibility in the flight deck.

Communication between the ground crew supervisor is usually by means of a plug in to an aircraft ground intercom circuit; if so, this is facilitated by a ground crew microphone which acquires the voice of the user whilst excluding background noise, which if the aircraft engines are running can be considerable. If only two ground crew are used for pushback of a smaller aircraft then it is important that the procedure takes full account of the roles of each ground crewmember and that the person in charge of ground crew communications on the flight deck is aware of the number of ground crew being used and the physical location of the supervisor.

Effective communication between the person in charge in the flight deck and the person in charge of the ground crew, and between the members of the ground crew team is critical. If the aircraft is being pushed back prior to intended flight and the person in charge of the flight deck is therefore an aircraft commander, the procedures of the aircraft operator may require that the designated Pilot Flying , who may be the co pilot, should oversee the pushback and in this case all communications with the ground crew will be undertaken by that person rather than necessarily by the aircraft commander.

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If it is considered that communication by hand signals rather than intercom is acceptable then it is essential that the applicable procedures are comprehensive and thoroughly understood by both parties and that they cover all possible abnormal and emergency circumstances. The case of engines-running pull forward as a supplementary action prior to ground vehicle disconnection after a pushback should be considered as part of the pushback procedure and trained accordingly since it bears little practical resemblance to the towing for longer distances of empty out-of-service with engines stopped.

Engine Starts may be routinely accomplished immediately before or during pushback. Middle-management buzzword for saying "no". There was some push back from the client regarding the new creative. We'll have to re-do it. Push Back unknown. When spooning turns to touching and the little spoon pushes their ass back into the big spoon signaling their down to get it on.

Sheila hit me with the push back as soon as the lights went out and it was on. Master October 21, Depending on the aircraft type and airline procedure, a bypass pin may be temporarily installed into the nose gear to disconnect it from the aircraft's normal steering mechanism. Once the pushback is completed, the towbar is disconnected, and the bypass pin is removed. The ground handler will show the bypass pin to the pilots to make it clear that it has been removed.

The pushback is then complete, and the aircraft can taxi forward under its own power.

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Very small airplanes may be moved by human power alone. The airplane may be pushed or pulled by landing gear , wing struts , or even the propeller blades , since they're known to be strong enough to drag the airplane through the air.


Professional Development: How to Push Back

To allow for turns, a person may either pick up or push down on the tail to raise either the nose wheel or tail wheel off the ground, then rotate the airplane by hand. A less cumbersome method involves attaching a short tow bar to either the nose wheel or tail wheel, which provides a solid handhold and leverage to steer with, as well as eliminates the danger of handling the propeller.

These tow bars are usually a lightweight aluminum alloy construction which allows them to be carried on board the airplane. Other small tow bars have a powered wheel to help move the airplane, with power sources as diverse as lawnmower engines or battery-operated electric drills.

However, powered tow bars are usually too large and heavy to be practically carried on small airplanes.

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Large aircraft cannot be moved by hand and must have a tractor or tug. Pushback tractors use a low profile design to fit under the aircraft nose.

MULAG: Pushback

For sufficient traction the tractor must be heavy, and most models can have extra ballast added. Often the driver's cabin can be raised for increased visibility when reversing and lowered to fit under aircraft. There are two types of pushback tractors: conventional and towbarless TBL. Conventional tugs use a tow bar to connect the tug to the nose landing gear of the aircraft. The tow bar is fixed laterally at the nose landing gear, but may move slightly vertically for height adjustment.

At the end that attaches to the tug, the tow bar may pivot freely laterally and vertically.

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In this manner the tow bar acts as a large lever to rotate the nose landing gear. Each aircraft type has a unique tow fitting so the towbar also acts as an adapter between the standard-sized tow pin on the tug and the type-specific fitting on the aircraft's landing gear.

Push-back tractors

The tow bar must be long enough to place the tug far away enough to avoid hitting the aircraft and to provide sufficient leverage to facilitate turns. On heavy tow bars for large aircraft the towbar rides on its own wheels when not connected to an aircraft. The wheels are attached to a hydraulic jacking mechanism which can lift the towbar to the correct height to mate to both the airplane and the tug, and once this is accomplished the same mechanism is used in reverse to raise the tow bar wheels from the ground during the pushback process.

The tow bar can be connected at the front or the rear of the tractor, depending on whether the aircraft will be pushed or pulled. The towbar has a shear pin which prevents the aircraft from being mishandled by the tug; when overstressed the shear pin will snap, disconnecting the bar from the nose gear to prevent damage to the aircraft and tug.

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