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Kidjudge's Blog

Supertugs on Movement Area

  • December 29, 2017
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How do other airports handle supertugs? Do you treat them as taxiing aircraft? What about when the weather goes down?

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Kidjudge, According to the FAA, mechanics taxiing aircraft under their own power or by tug/tow are considered ground vehicles and must meet standards laid out in AC 150/5210-20A as downtown49 referenced. If they are operated in the movement area, training must be conducted annually. The sticky part is who must be the trained person: the left seat mechanic on the aircraft or the tug/tow operator or both. I know of an airport that requires at least one person with a movement area license in constant communication with the ATCT that can communicate with either the aircraft or the tug/tow and the ability to communicate when to stop/start/direct movement of the team is required.

SuperSlugs (as some people call them) are techincally TLTV's.  At ATL, we have an LOA with each operator, the specifically states what they can do, when and what type of training they need. DL has a very robust Supertug team with great training.  WN has a good program too, mostly operated by their Mtx team, but they are branching out to a dedicated team made up of ramp supervisors.  

Kidgudge,  the Supertug, based on my recollectiion, is a tug towing an aircraft and as such is not a taxing aircraft.  There may be a pilot or trained taxi personnel in the seat of the aircraft under tow, but it is not a taxing aircraft in the sense of an aircraft under its own power taxing.  Be Safe!

Thank you for your input downtown49. In reading the documentation I still can not find if the FAA considers ST the same as a taxiing aircraft. At the airport I work at if the field goes IFR we allow taxiing acft to move on the taxiway but we deny the ST, I think that the ST shoudl be treated the same as a taxiing acft.

Kidjudge,  Also take a look at AC 150/5210-20A, Appendix B for info on operating tugs in the AOA.  Be Safe!

Kidjudge, go the FAA website, go to Airport and then type in Supertug in the Search box and voila, FAA Certalert 08-12.  I knew it was familiar, I wrote it back in the day!  Be Safe!!!

Kidjudge, Yep, that is the beast!  I am cerrain the FAA's Office of Airport Safety & Operations (AAS-300) issued a CertAlert on how these Supertugs would be operated in the AOA.  ORD and the FAA put together the operational guidance and like I said, I think it was published as a CertAlert or some other form of guidance, but it is out there.  If you don't hear back from anyone on this website, I will contact the FAA's AAS-300 and see what I can do to find the writting guidance.  Happy New Year...  Be Safe!


created at: 12/29/2017


It looks like this I believe it is a Goldenhoffer

Kidjudge,  When you use the term "Supertugs" can you be more specific?  About 8 or 9 years ago there were some meetings between ORD and the FAA regarding how tugs would be used, marked, and how the operator would communicate with the pilot, ATC and the airport operator.  My apologizes, can't remember the name of the tugs, but it was a manufacturere from Germany.  

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