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The airline received the first of the 490 HP four-wheel drive TLTs, designed for pushback and towing operations, just before its first A380 arrived at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport at the end of September.
Given the profound capacity to evoke pleasurable and meaningful experiences, reduce existential anxiety and generate the security of old parental experiences (the origin of God images), TLTs are potent modifiers of human behaviour.
At last year's Paris Air Show Airbus signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) to jointly explore and develop application of IAI's proposed new concept known as TaxiBot (Taxiing Robot), TaxiBot is a semi-robotic towbar-less tractor (TLT) fitted with hardware and software which enable its use for dispatch towing operations while under the pilot's control.
The company's brand new AST-2 X 490 is an upgrade of the successful AST-2 F/L TLTs. The new model is equipped with the new Deutz engine generation, which complies with the COM III/EPA TIER III diesel emission standards.
Bryn Jones, General Manager of Australia's Bliss-Fox ground support equipment company, which has been manufacturing conventional tow-tractors for over 40 years, told Airports International: "Whilst we acknowledge that TLTs are here to stay, the client will be the ultimate decision-maker on product type.
Goldhofer's A380 tractor solution is the AST-1 X, a derivative of its successful AST-1F TLT. The first thing that strikes you about this machine is that it has a six-wheel base, designed to reduce the ground loading effect--and so far Goldhofer is the only company to offer a six-wheel design.
Goldhofer says it is currently seeing a boom in orders for TLTs.
Although the first Douglas-Kalmar TBL 600 towbarless tractor (TLT) designed for the A380 entered operational service with launch customer DNATA in Dubai during January 2005, the vehicle didn't actually get to handle the new giant until the recent Dubai Air Show.
Aircraft tow-tractors fall into two major categories: the conventional type which uses a towbar to connect the tug to the aircraft's nose gear and the towbar-less tractor (TLT) which avoids the need for towbars by hooking up with the aircraft via a 'cradle' system positioned within the rear of the tug, which effectively wraps itself around either the aircraft's nose or main gear leg.
SCHOPF's view of the A380 is that today's towbar-less tugs (TLTs) cannot handle the An-225 or tomorrow's A380.
The type of TLT in use at Farnborough is basically similar in appearance and performance to the well-known range of TLTs manufactured by Lektro, which has been manufacturing this type of tractor for several decades from its base in Oregon, USA.
Douglas produces three TLTs appropriate to the midsize market--the TBL-180, 200 and 240.
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