The Ground Handling Blog

Mototok's blog for Hangar Professionals

Written by Mototok on February 2, 2017 // 2:19 PM

Rollouts: The secret of a perfect airplane presentation


The first impression counts – that applies to aircrafts, too. That’s why introductions of new airplanes or so-called rollouts become more and more of a show nowadays. It feels like the whole world is watching, so perfection is key at these events. Here’s how you make an entrance with your next rollout.

Irkut MC-21: a majestic rollout

The possibilities of staging your latest model appear infinite. At times these events seem even more thrilling than Apple’s annually launch of the next iPhone-generation.
Let’s take a look at one of the most impressive rollouts in 2016, the presentation of the
new Irkut MC-21:

That is pretty amazing, right? There are some incredible details about these types of presentations, you should pay attention to. Especially if you think about how these kinds of events used to go down.

What did airplane rollouts use to look like?

Back in the days, rollouts would look kind of like this:


You would have a crowd in front of the hangar, then the gates of the hangar would open up and you would watch the brand new airplane being towed out of its nest by a stumpy towbar tractor. Looks more like a car getting towed out of a no-parking zone, doesn’t it?

And even if you stick to towbarless diesel tractors, you still can’t host such an event inside. Consider the exhaust fumes! “Yeah, the airplane is nice, but I’m choking too much to appreciate it”, that isn’t really the reaction you want your guests to have.

So what makes a good aircraft rollout?

A rollout’s purpose isn’t simply to demonstrate your new aircraft, it’s to give it a proper introduction, to build up excitement and thrill, to rock the audience’s world. So hey: Treat your plane like a rockstar! Aircraft manufacturers invest fortunes into rollout-shows, and these are the main points of spending:

  • An extra tent in front of the hangar: And by “tent” we mean more like a concert hall. This gives the audience an exclusive feeling, much like a gala night. And it makes the weather a rather uninteresting factor.
  • Decorations and lighting: High-end furnishing and a classy atmosphere will show to your guests what a special occasion this is. A thrilling light show will let your new aircraft shine later on. You might even think about installing a simulated landing strip.
  • Curtains: Save your biggest surprise of the evening from prying eyes with a curtain. It can be dropped or pulled away quicker than any hangar gate, revealing the aircraft in seconds.
  • Fog machines: Don’t hesitate to use fog machines or other special event technology. Befogging the plane intensives the atmosphere imitates an above-the-clouds-situation and stresses the light show.
  • Music: Your rollout shouldn’t be missing some epic music. It can be some dramatic orchestral piece blasting from the speakers or intense live music like in some of the videos presented in this article.
  • Speakers: Invite an interesting spokesperson to speak at your rollout. That can be for example you CEO or a famous guest speaker like Dmitry Medvedev at the rollout of the MC-21. Having a VIP at your rollout will definitely draw attention to this event.

Although a rollout indoors is a little bit more fabulous, sometimes there are just too many people at your event. That doesn’t mean that the new aircraft can’t make a spectacular entrance (or is it rather an exit?). Take the rollout of the Embraer KC-390 as an example: 


The right aircraft tug: How is the airplane rolled out?

This is probably the most important question of the evening because the plane has to move somehow, after all. Of course, there had been rollouts where the crowd would just go outside and the aircraft wouldn’t move at all. But this is far from glamorous.
That’s why you need the perfect aircraft tug. But what are the most important factors when choosing it?

  • Safety: Safety certificates and licenses are crucial when it comes to rollout-shows and aviation in general. So make sure your aircraft tug meets all required safety criteria.
  • No emission: Exhaust fumes are not only very unpleasant for every guest, they are simply harmful and can even get dangerous indoors! Furthermore, they are sometimes even visible, especially if they come from diesel tractors, and you don’t want that to spoil the show.
  • Reliability: At a rollout, everything has to work according to plan at all times. So the equipment you are using has to work perfectly and reliable. Technical failures have to be avoided at any cost, that’s why you should always trust in a quality tug.
  • Agility: You might have a huge hall but your aircraft is enormous, too. Often, there is simply no room for a big turning circle. Therefore you should go for a tug that can maneuver the plane within as little space as possible.
  • Personalization: The stage, the hall, the aircraft: Everything shines in your beautiful company colors – except for that awkward yellow aircraft tug. Go for a consistent design instead and get a customized aircraft tug.

With the right preparations your rollout can look just as amazing as this rollout of Dassault’s first Falcon 8x: 

Conclusion to rollouts

Rollouts are a big load of work and preparation. But with the right equipment, you can easily host a spectacular and unforgettable presentation of your latest aircraft. Are you searching for the right aircraft tug for the big day? Our Mototoks meet all criteria mentioned above and even more. Have a look at our wide range of products or get a free consultation today!Request Your Free Consultation


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