Monday, 27 February 2012

easyJet will be the first airline to test electric taxiing system

Safran and Honeywell have designed an electric green taxiing system or EGTS that allows jets to taxi on the ground without having to use their engines.  Instead the planes would use electric motors attached to each wheel and run by the plane’s auxiliary power unit.  The electrical system should provide better maneuvering control to pilots when docking at a gate and should save four percent of energy costs.

Safran Group and Honeywell announced that easyJet will begin testing the EGTS in 2013. The companies hope to begin providing the system for new airplanes and as a retrofit by 2016. As the UK’s biggest airline with 604 routes to 130 airports in 29 countries, easyJet will be able to give the system a thorough testing.
Due to the high frequency and short sector lengths of easyJet’s operations, around 4% of total fuel consumed annually is used when the airline’s aircraft are taxiing. easyJet’s aircraft average 20 minutes of taxi time per flight – the equivalent of 3.5 million miles a year.

The tests will make sure that the fuel savings are actually realized and will determine other benefits of the system. 

Each wheel is fitted not only with a motor but also with an electromechanical actuator and unique power electronics and system controllers. One benefits of this new system will be the increased maneuverability and control over speed, direction and braking of the plane as it approaches the docking area. Currently planes are tugged into the docks.  The new system should reduce or eliminate the need for the final assist

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