The Ground Handling Blog

Mototok's blog for Hangar Professionals

Written by Mototok on January 10, 2017 // 2:45 PM

8 incredible videos of pushbacks and aircraft tugs


In aviation aircrafts are obviously the stars. They impress and inspire us, taking our breaths away as they seemingly defy the laws of gravity. But at times the ground support equipment grabs our attention. Because sometimes it’s just as impressive to see a plane fly as it is to see a (comparatively) tiny machine towing hundreds of tons worth of aircraft. Pushbacks, taxiing and Co. are everyday business for you? Then take a look at these 8 unconventional aircraft towing videos!

1. Pushback sabotaged by snow

Everyday we do our best to provide smooth, safe and successful ground operations. Human errors, the weather and sometimes bad luck challenge us for this goal. Luckily, some failures are rather amusing than dangerous. Just as this towing tractor that has a hard time making headway:

Compliments to the operator for making it out of this sticky situation!

2. Pushing an aircraft by hand

But why even bother operating an aircraft tug anyway, right. Can human feet get stuck in the snow like that? Of course not. That’s why these gentlemen rely solely on their own manpower. Where there’s a will there’s a way:


3. Self-made RC pushback tug for an RC Labrador CH-113

Nothing compares to proper tugs of course, but building your very own tow tractor? That’s pretty cool. Take a look at this self-made helicopter tug for a remote-controlled Labrador CH-113. When there are no people in the frame you might even think it’s real.


4. Minimal size – maximal strength: The electric aircraft tug revolution

Admittedly, most of the operations on this list aren’t everyday life. So here’s for a change a rather useful, down-to-earth, but still plainly impressive aircraft tug: the Mototok. Its size comes probably closer to the model tug from the previous video than a conventional towing tractor, its strength easily outperforms some of the tugs from the videos to come. So what looks like standard pushback and towing maneuvers in this video is actually a revolution in ground support equipment.


5. Boeing 747 crashing into an aircraft tug

Remember the snowy pushback from the beginning? Other operations don’t end as lenient. In this accident video the marshaller clearly does a mistake resulting in a spectacular collision and probably thousands of dollars worth of damage:


6. Airplane tug ripping off the nose wheel of an MD

You thought that last video got expensive? It can get even worse. In this clip someone forgot to release the parking brakes of the aircraft. Long story short: The brakes were stronger than the landing gear, the tow bar ripped the nose wheel right off. Communication is really key in such standard situations.


7. A simple production car towing a Boeing 747

Don’t get the wrong impression: Pushback is of course not always such a disaster. Hundreds of thousands of planes and helicopters are getting towed every day without any trouble – you know that. In fact, even a production car can tow a Boeing 747 without any damage to neither the car nor the plane: 


8. Towing a space shuttle through the streets of LA

This last video is our favourite. It’s quite similar to the stunt from the last video, but this time it was performed by a pickup. On the Endeavour. In the streets of Los Angeles. Sounds incredible, right? A conventional passenger car wouldn’t have been our first choice for this task, but hey – it worked! And the outcome is astonishing:

A tow tug for space rockets really seems to be a gap in the market.

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