WheelTug Certification Plan Receives FAA approval
Ultra Electronics PCS is part of an international consortium called WheelTug, which aims to change the way aeroplanes taxi to and from airport gates. The WheelTug system enables an aeroplane to autonomously taxi forwards and backwards without the use of engine thrust or a tow tug. This is achieved by placing a small electric motor in the nose-wheel. This modification can significantly benefit airlines financially by reducing fuel consumption and emissions and saving a significant amount of ground time between flights. Additionally WheelTug enables aeroplanes to park side-on at terminal gates allowing use of front and rear doors for boarding and deplaning.
As of the 10th of January 2017, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States of America has accepted the certification plans for the WheelTug system for Boeing 737NG aircraft. It is expected that the system will be available for other types of aircraft in the near future.
Videos of WheelTug tests can be found at http://media.WheelTug.com