AERO Specialties are a premier manufacturer & global supplier of new, used and refurbished aircraft ground support equipment (GSE).
Automation in any industry is bound to raise some controversy, particularly in one like aviation. The average airside is an environment in which baggage and lavatory-maintenance vehicles weaving around a multi-ton aircraft tug towing a nearly million-ton airliner is all par for the course. The prospect of those support vehicles carrying out the same functions with no one operating behind the wheel makes some people a bit nervous. To say nothing of the possibility that in the future the airliner being towed will then carry hundreds of passengers thousands of miles with (potentially) no one in the cockpit. So, how safe is the future of automated aviation, and what will it look like, on the ground and in the sky?
According to the consensus of most of the experts, fully automated airliners are a virtual inevitability. Few people outside of commercial aviation are aware of how close we are to it already. In many modern airliners, during the course of 14-hour flight, it’s not uncommon for the pilots to actually be flying the plane between three and six minutes—mostly takeoff and landing. And even those actions are becoming increasingly automated.
As much as autopilot has simplified so many pilots’ lives, that sort of automation can create issues. The more complex the computerized flight-augmentation technology becomes, the harder it can be for pilots to identify an issue if it pops up. There are also concerns that pilots becoming too reliant on automated technology means a decrease in the perishable skill of flying itself. That could prove catastrophic in the event of a situation in which sharp manual flying skill was required. It’s widely agreed that until automation technology that’s as fail-proof as it can possibly be has taken the wheel, trained humans skilled at flight are a must in the cockpit.
Effectively automated ground support equipment (GSE) has both financial and safety implications. The airside work environments where ground crews operate are dangerous. Dozens of aircraft tugs, pushback tractors, and other GSE vehicles for towing, cleaning, and hauling baggage are sharing apron space with massive aircraft. And most all of it is fast-moving, high-stress, and involving high-dollar equipment. A tug or pushback operator who becomes distracted, misses something, or makes a mistake can both hurt themselves and other people, and very easily do hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage to an airliner. Those stakes being high as they are has compelled the industry to invest in increasingly automated GSE.
It’s not just mitigating the risk of costly damage to aircraft and safety concerns that automation addresses. In addition to the equipment being expensive, time is precious for every airline. Delays can cost an airline thousands, even millions, while alienating passengers. An automated fleet of telematics-linked GSE doesn’t make communication mistakes, or become distracted, or end up accidentally blocking a lane. Automated GSE can be programmed for optimum efficiency, which burns the smallest amount of fuel necessary. It’s an advancement that would be worth billions, making it as inevitable as airline automation. Thankfully for the airside ground crews, even automated vehicles require maintenance, programming, scheduling, and reacting to unexpected situations. None of which computer systems can yet do on their own.
About AERO Specialties
AERO Specialties is among the most trusted, respected, reliable ground support equipment (GSE) manufacturers and distributors in the world. Employing leading-edge technological innovation and the most stringent manufacturing standards means their GSE can optimize the operations of any airport or Fixed Base Operator (FBO). Additionally, in order to better serve their customers, AERO Specialties ensures that every member of their staff, from the mechanics to the sales team and customer service, is entirely familiar with the GSE and its operation. In short, AERO Specialties has everything your aviation business needs, be it a high-performance aircraft tow tractor or aviation safety products from their huge selection.