SOURCE: WheelTug Limited

WheelTug Limited

February 03, 2010 15:40 ET

WheelTug Announces Successful Electric Load Test on Boeing B737NG

GIBRALTAR--(Marketwire - February 3, 2010) - WheelTug Limited with partner Co-Operative Industries, reported today the successful completion of an Electrical Load Measurement (ELM) development test on a Boeing B737NG. The tests confirm sufficient power is available to operate a WheelTug®.

The tests were conducted in January at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, GA in the presence of independent observers.

WheelTug® is a unique concept in aircraft ground operations. This patented electric drive system incorporates high performance electric motors installed in the nosewheels of the aircraft, providing full mobility without the use of the aircraft main engines or tugs for pushback and taxi operations. WheelTug uses power from the aircraft onboard Auxiliary Power Unit (APU). The resulting improvements in efficiency, flexibility, fuel savings and reduced maintenance yield savings projected to be on the order of half a million dollars per aircraft per year.

There had been some industry speculation about whether the current B737NG APU could provide adequate electrical capacity during taxi to maintain normal airplane ground speed and operations while powering WheelTug. The test demonstrated that there is more than sufficient power available from the APU to enable a fully loaded WheelTug-equipped B737-800 to taxi at normal speeds.

"This test was instrumental in our next steps to make WheelTug a reality for the aerospace industry," says Isaiah Cox, CEO for WheelTug. "The results will also be helpful in developing WheelTug systems for other OEMs and aircraft models."

There are significant savings for airline customers in not using the main engines to taxi. Some of these include a substantial reduction in Foreign Object Damage (FOD) which occurs primarily at the gate and in terminal areas. WheelTug customers will also enjoy fuel savings as well as the obvious green aviation benefits of not using the engines or ground tugs for taxi and pushback. Environmental carbon credits will be pivotal for the majority of airlines who are subject to the new European Union Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS) regulations. There are also ancillary benefits such as reduced airport noise and congestion.

The feasibility of WheelTug was successfully demonstrated in a proof-of-concept ground test in June 2005 in Arizona using a leased Air Canada Boeing B767-200. Boeing's press release can be found at http://www.boeing.com/aboutus/environment/news/2005/q3/nr_050801a.html. Boeing, in conjunction with WheelTug officials, laid out the rigorous test conditions and a non-proprietary video of the demonstration is available at http://www.wheeltug.com/video.shtml.

With this test completed, efforts can continue in support of FAA certification of WheelTug on the Boeing B737NG series aircraft expected in 2011.

WheelTug Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of WheelTug plc, which is in turn majority-owned by Chorus Motors plc (PINKSHEETS: CHOMF).

Contact Information

  • For more information, contact:
    Phil Moylan
    VP Business Development
    pmoylan@wheeltug.com
    +1 503 885-8745